FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, in collaboration with Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., announced today the creation of Make It Your Own Mural Fest. The mural festival begins on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and runs until Friday, Sept. 18, throughout Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties including Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.
Make It Your Own Mural Fest is an innovative, creative activation of the Make It Your Own brand intended to enhance the region’s efforts to drive talent attraction, talent retention and tourism by investing in quality of place assets and public art.
The regional mural festival concept, the first of its kind in the state, 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 will create 11 high-quality murals—one in each of the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana. The murals all will be unveiled on the same day, with celebrations and events taking place all over the region throughout the duration of the festival to recognize the artists and the communities.
John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said Northeast Indiana must find transformational opportunities to accelerate the region’s population growth, highlighting the Mural Fest as one of those transformational initiatives.
“It was only a year ago when we launched the Make It Your Own brand for talent, and we’ve seen outstanding adoption from regional business leaders. Now, in addition to business leaders and our economic development partners, we are working closely with state and regional tourism partners to enhance the brand and align and maximize our efforts to attract visitors and potential residents. The Mural Fest will set our community apart on the national stage and tell Northeast Indiana’s story in a unique and authentic way,” said Sampson.
Each county in Northeast Indiana is participating in this inaugural event, and specific mural locations will be announced soon. Locations in each county are determined through a community-led selection committee process with a combination of regional and local input. In March, artist applications will be available upon announcement of the mural locations, and regional, national and international artists will be invited to provide proposals.
Columbia City Mayor Ryan Daniel said investment in quality of place is critical for the future of Northeast Indiana, and the Mural Fest creates opportunities for collaboration across county borders to maximize resources and outcomes.
“Projects like the Make It Your Own Mural Fest allow the region to collaborate at a county-level and invest in quality of place through public art in a new, transformational way to amplify the impact,” said Daniel.
Elaine Bedel, secretary and CEO of the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, said when it comes to branding, promoting and telling Indiana’s authentic story, the state understands the strong connection quality of life initiatives can have on economic growth.
“That is precisely why the new Indiana Destination Development Corporation was formed and why I continue to seek out new ways the state can partner with and lift up the work of our local communities,” said Bedel. “Today’s announcement about the Make It Your Own Mural Fest is an incredible example of how innovation and creativity, combined with a motivated and passionate team, can bring countless new opportunities to a community.”
Susan Mendenhall, president of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., said public art is a unique opportunity to engage with visitors and residents and create an attachment to the community.
“Investing in quality of place is about giving the people of Northeast Indiana the accessible spaces and compelling activities they crave, so they can connect with each other, express themselves, explore new ideas and interests, experience diverse cultures, be inspired and take pride and ownership in their community,” said Mendenhall.
Mendenhall added that the mural festival will also include a Mentorship Program to invite aspiring artists to learn how to create and install a large-scale mural.
The final unveiling event for the Make It Your Own Mural Fest will be held in partnership with the Downtown Improvement District (DID) and Art This Way Fort Wayne at the Art Crawl event on Friday, Sept. 18, near The Landing and Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne.
Make It Your Own Mural Fest is supported through sponsorships from Parkview Health, 3Rivers Federal Credit Union, Ambassador Enterprises and Avangrid Foundation. The mural festival is also one of four finalists for the Indiana Office of Tourism Development (IOTD) Destination Development grant program.
Additional details about the festival, including artists applications, will be released in March. To learn more, visit the website at www.NEImuralfestival.com.
About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s mission is to build, market and sell Northeast Indiana to increase business investment. Founded in 2006, the public-private partnership strives to build a globally competitive region. The Partnership’s Vision 2030 framework supports collaborative regional efforts to increase per capita income, population growth and educational attainment by focusing on business attraction, talent attraction and talent development. The Partnership represents 11 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley. For more information, visit www.neindiana.com.
About Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. is a non-profit united arts fund and local arts agency that serves the communities of northeast Indiana by fueling the momentum of more than 70 arts, culture and quality of life initiatives each year. Arts United’s strategic investments position arts and culture organizations to achieve higher levels of excellence and quality, to improve access to the arts for all community members and to support regional priorities for growth and development. For more information, visit www.artsunited.org.
Vice President of Marketing & Strategic Communications
Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership