In 2004, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne put “Mastodons on Parade” downtown. Ten years later, the school will adorn Fort Wayne streets with a new public art display – dozens of sculptural bike racks – for its 50th anniversary.
For the project, dubbed “Sculpture with a Purpose,” the university will ask artists to submit ideas for their sculptures and place 50 of them permanently throughout the city, IPFW officials said. The racks will debut in 2014.
“We did Mastodons on Parade for our 40th anniversary, and that was great, but it was temporary,” said Ruth Stone, project manager for Sculpture with Purpose. “What we wanted to do was provide something permanent for the city.”
The sculptures will be installed widely throughout Fort Wayne, although most will be displayed downtown or on IPFW’s campus, Stone said. The project was partly inspired by similar art projects in Louisville, Ky., Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg, Manitoba, she said.
Local and national artists will be invited to submit design ideas that will go through a juried selection process beginning in September, according to a statement released by IPFW. The racks will come in three sizes and will be required only to include the IPFW logo and room for at least one bike to be attached.
As part of the initiative, IPFW also will invite elementary, middle and high school students to recycle bikes into art. Each participating school will be given a bike to convert in a work of art, which would be displayed with one of the racks at the 2014 unveiling, Stone said.
“Kids are so often told they can’t touch art. This art, they’ll be able to touch,” she said.
Lincoln Financial Group has signed on as the project’s title sponsor, IPFW officials were expected to announce in a news conference Wednesday morning. Other major sponsors include Design Collaborative, Franklin Electric, Indiana Michigan Power, Steel Dynamics and Sweetwater.