July 26, 2019 - Mayor Tom Henry and Parks and Recreation Director Steve McDaniel officially unveiled the first piece of Promenade Park to the public on Friday morning. “Convergence, Linda Howard, 2018, presented by the Waterfield Foundation” sits on the southeast corner of Promenade Park, near the intersection of Superior and Harrison streets. Mayor Henry and McDaniel shared their excitement for the sculpture, especially as it means the opening of the first phase of Riverfront Fort Wayne is getting closer. Promenade Park will open to the public in two weeks with a three-day celebration that begins at 5:30 pm on August 9 and runs through August 11.
Convergence suggests the flow of Fort Wayne’s three rivers coming together, which has unified our region and its people. As you move around the sculpture, you’ll experience a visual adventure, never seeing the same view twice. Light and shadows constantly change in the ambient light. The form relates to the rhythm of the water, the heartbeat of the three rivers, a crossroad, and a powerful unifying force. The design creates a force of energy and momentum which is always moving forward. The sculpture creates a space for contemplation, introspection, solitude and peace. The sculpture weighs approximately 2,400 pounds and measures approximately 19 feet high, 28 feet wide, and 28 feet deep.
In January 2016, the Waterfield Foundation donated $100,000 through the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc. for the creation of an entryway sculpture. The donation, combined with a 50 percent match from Lilly Endowment, Inc., brought the total value of the donation to $150,000. The Parks and Recreation Department partnered with Arts United to ensure that the final piece of art would represent the rivers and the growing vibrancy of downtown Fort Wayne through an unbiased selection process. Arts United assembled a volunteer committee of art experts and community members to review and recommend best practices for the selection of public art.
Originally from Evanston, Illinois, Howard has studied at several universities, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Denver and the School of Architecture in New York. She currently lives and works in Bradenton, Florida and has created and installed sculptures in 18 states and in Australia.
“I’m proud of Fort Wayne’s renewed commitment to the arts. An appreciation of the arts makes us a more attractive city,” said Mayor Henry. “Having public art that’s unique and helps celebrate our community is an example of how we’re moving forward in a positive direction. Convergence is a tremendous addition to Promenade Park.”
McDaniel added, “Like many Fort Wayne citizens, we are eagerly anticipating the grand opening in just two weeks, when we can finally welcome everyone to this wonderful park, and being able to share Convergence just amplifies that excitement. There are many individuals who helped make this sculpture happen. We greatly appreciate the hard work of the selection committee from the newly formed Public Art Commission, the very talented sculptor Linda Howard, who brought this idea to life, and certainly the Waterfield Foundation, whose generous donation made this moment happen.”
City leaders today also encouraged residents to either sign up to volunteer for the grand opening celebration or simply plan to attend over the weekend of August 9-11. More information about Promenade Park, the grand opening celebration and volunteer opportunities can be found at www.riverfrontfw.org.