I am thrilled to be apart of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership team, in collaboration with Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., we launched Make It Your Own Mural Fest in Northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne in October 2020. The regional mural festival concept, the first of its kind in the State of Indiana, builds on the quality of place efforts accelerated by the Regional Cities Initiative, growing regional pride and garnering significant attention and exposure nationally. Over 11 days, regional, national and international artists created 11 high-quality murals—one in each of the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana.
How Mural Fest Brought the Region Together, Again
Northeast Indiana’s Make It Your Own Mural Fest is now history. The remnant of the fest is far more than 11 stunning murals. We are a better region because we led the charge together. Great regions are not made by beautiful and lasting public art. Great regions produce stunning murals because of the commitment of great partners. Without our partners, Make It Your Own Mural Fest would be nothing more than an idea wanting a place in history.
After months of detailed planning and collaboration with the 11 counties that make Northeast Indiana a rich and diverse community, 11 new murals of public art have enriched the quality of our place.
As a result, we have new relationships that strengthen our fabric of connection. We have accomplished with great success an event never attempted before. And, we received a healthy dose of national acclaim as Forbes put it this way, “Northeast Indiana Becomes the Canvas For ‘Make It Your Own Mural Fest’”.
This was no trivial feat and certainly came with an inherent risk of failure.
At the outset, there was a serious concern for finding sufficient funding. This concern was heightened when the Indiana Tourism Council declined a primary grant request. We realized how steep the mountain suddenly appeared as we redoubled our sponsorship efforts. In the end, multiple sponsors rose to the occasion to assure that murals, artists, supplies, events and marketing efforts could be supported at a very high-quality level.
Make It Your Own Mural Fest was supported by a diverse list of key businesses that believed in the Mural Fest and its potential to put Northeast Indiana in a national spotlight to attract and retain talent. Mural Fest was made possible through sponsorships or grants from 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, Ruoff Mortgage, Ambassador Enterprises, Flagstar Bank, NIPSCO and the NiSource Foundation, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Cole Foundation, Fort Wayne Public Art Commission through the City of Fort Wayne, Canterbury School, Avangrid Foundation, MacAllister Rentals, Hagerman Construction, Fort Wayne’s Downtown Improvement District, media sponsor WPTA, Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. and the Indiana Arts Commission.
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