May 23, 2022 - The Fort Wayne Public Art Commission will be hosting an artist talk regarding the Pillars of Hope and Justice Monument in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event will be held on Thursday, June 9th at 6:00 p.m. in Overlook Hall at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art located at 311 E. Main Street.
The talk will feature one of the artists, Shane Allbritton of RE:site, along with team member Caitlin Dashiell. The RE:site team will share inspiration for the design and information on fabrication. It will be held in conjunction with the Museum’s Second Thursday Event which begins at 5:00 p.m.
Dr. King visited the Scottish Rite Auditorium, now known as the University of Saint Francis Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, in Fort Wayne on June 5, 1963 on his journey to Washington, D.C. where he would make the historic “I Have a Dream” speech just two months later. This monument memorializes Dr. King’s dream of racial equality and harmony and will celebrate his speech.
Earlier this year, Fort Wayne residents had the opportunity to provide input on the design by ranking on which phrases from the speech resonate most with them. The survey generated more than 700 responses.
"We're so grateful for the overwhelming survey participation that gives us insight into which of Dr. King's words resonate with the community,” said Shane Allbritton. “We plan to honor this feedback by prioritizing these specific excerpts within the sculpture."
The confirmed location of the monument is at the northwest corner of Ewing Street and W. Main Street. The monument features six pillars set in a circular configuration around a concrete plaza. Each pillar will evoke both ancient architectural pillars and growing reeds of papyrus that emerge from the ground and bend outwards at the top.
The organic form of papyrus reeds evokes Dr. King’s vision of nonviolent resistance. The sculptural, steel forms will be waterjet cut with words from King’s speech. The pillars are planned to be approximately 15’ tall. LED ground up-lights will be installed in the center of each pillar, so that they can be seen at night.
Mayor Tom Henry and Fort Wayne City Council created the Public Art Program and Public Art Commission in March 2018. The primary purpose of the Public Art Program is to enliven and enhance the city through the promotion and integration of artworks into the public realm and assist with city-led beautification efforts. For more information and to read a copy of the Art for All! Public Art Master Plan, visit www.FortWaynePublicArt.com.