FORT WAYNE – The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, in collaboration with Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., has announced 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 eleven 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 the 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.
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.”
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.