As Fort Wayne Museum of Art spends the year marking its 100th anniversary, it is adding a sculpture on its grounds along Main Street.
City native Dale Enochs is creating the piece, which is about 17 feet tall and includes a 3,600-pound base made of Indiana limestone and an aluminum structure on top weighing about 2,000 pounds.
Though specific details of the design are under wraps until the sculpture's installation in August, Enochs tells The Journal Gazette that it includes carving on the base and the aluminum is being anodized by Northern Indiana Anodizing.
Enochs, who has two smaller works in the museum's permanent collection, had a solo show there over the winter.
“We're fortunate to have a sculptor in Indiana who is not only from Fort Wayne, but graduated from the Fort Wayne Art School, who is regularly making regional and national work of a high caliber,” museum President and CEO Charles A. Shepard III says in a statement.
The museum was created as part of the art school in 1921 and split from it in 1977 when the school became a department of what is now Purdue University Fort Wayne.
“Although we've been able to acquire his work for the Museum's collection, this is the first time we've been able to commission a large-scale work by this artist for the lawn on Main Street in front of the Museum,” Shepard says. “The importance of this commission is that Dale was committed to developing a subject that specifically references our city, which is what made the Fort Wayne Museum of Art possible after all these years.”
The chance to create a piece for the museum's grounds is an incredible honor for a hometown boy, says Enochs, who is now based in Bloomington.
“I'm extremely glad to have been chosen to create a piece, not only for the museum but for this occasion as well,” he says.
The artist has done a number of public art pieces, including a large sculpture on the Indiana Statehouse plaza. In addition to other domestic locations such as the Indianapolis airport, his work can be found internationally, including in Japan and China.
Enochs says creating a piece for a museum is different from creating a piece for other locations.
“Doing a piece for an art museum, the freedom is incredible,” he says. “And with that freedom, as odd as this may sound, I think there's more responsibility and more of a challenge with that freedom.”
When he works on a public art piece, Enochs thinks about associations such as the surrounding architecture, who the viewers might be and the history of the space.
“And so I've done that here, too, for the museum,” he says. “There will be associations to Fort Wayne.”
More information about the installation will be announced this summer.