The Journal Gazette
Monday, February 10, 2020 1:00 am

Five questions for Nancy Stewart

Chair, Fort Wayne Public Art Commission

1 The commission has been at work now for more than a year. What's changed in the arts community as a result of its work?

Our primary focus this past year has been the development of a Public Art Master Plan. The Public Art Commission is responsible for public art projects that are on public property and/or use public funds. In that spirit, we supported the Bloomingdale and Fairmount murals and the Johnny Appleseed sculpture. Convergence at Promenade Park was dedicated and we can look forward to unveiling the Metavine sculpture at the botanical conservatory this year.


2 You sought input from the public about public art. What kind of ideas were presented?

We revealed the Public Art Master Plan, Art for All, on Jan. 29. A few of the ideas generated after hearing from more than 2,000 citizens include an arts and cultural corridor, enhanced neighborhood gateways and gathering spaces, a riverfront public art trail, murals depicting Faces of the Fort, topographical lighting, and we would like to have public art accessible to people of all abilities. The complete Public Art Master Plan is available online at


3 We're most aware of public art in downtown Fort Wayne. What's happening in the city's neighborhoods?

The Public Art Commission is primarily funded through private philanthropy and the Public Art Giveback Program. Funds raised through the Giveback Program are to be geographically balanced, providing opportunities for neighborhood-driven public art projects. Guided by our public art master, look for some murals to be created in your neighborhood soon!


4 You're also a member of the statewide Indiana Arts Commission. How does Fort Wayne compare with other Indiana cities in supporting public art?

When City Council established a Public Art Program and the Public Art Commission as a public/private partnership between the city and Arts United, Fort Wayne joined a very short list of communities in Indiana whose commitment to public art is integrated into the city structure.

This level of commitment is powerful! It provides staffing stability and the opportunity to integrate or team up with other city-based initiatives to maximize impact.


5 What are you most excited about among upcoming public art projects?

We have spent the past year planning. I am ready to start doing! To start creating! The best is yet to come ... stay tuned!

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