February 15, 2021 - The City of Fort Wayne’s Public Art Commission is looking for artists to create a sculpture commemorating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The public display will include quotes from King’s 1963 speech given in Fort Wayne.
King spoke on June 5th at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. It is currently the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center. The speech was arranged by a group of church and civic leaders led by the African American Frontiers Club. Two months later King gave his historic "I have a Dream" speech in Washington D.C.
“Nearly a year ago to the date of the release of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial request for qualifications, 2nd District City Councilman Russ Jehl and I joined together and agreed that the City of Fort Wayne should memorialize Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit to our great city,” said City Councilwoman At Large Michelle Chambers. “As stated by Maya Angelou, ‘I have great respect for the past. If you don't know where you've come from, you don't know where you're going.’ I have respect for the past but I'm a person of the moment. In this moment our city is experiencing great growth. As we grow we must not ever forget Dr. King's visit to Fort Wayne during the height of the Civil Rights movement. I look forward to learning about what sculptural artists can create for our community.”
“Dr King’s Dream is still the highest aspiration of racial harmony ever articulated, and unfortunately the Dream still has not fully become reality,” said Councilman Jehl. “This memorial to the portion of the Dream delivered in Fort Wayne is important to our community and the posterity of this healing nation. I applaud the diligent efforts of Councilwoman Chambers and the Committee, and am excited to see the resulting inspirational ideas.”
A committee was created by the Public Art Commission at the request of City Council to help select an artist to install a memorial. It consists of community civic leaders, professionals in historic documentation, arts organizations and the faith-based community. Submissions are due by March 21, 2021 and must include a statement of interest, and impact of Dr. King's work. A resume, list of references and work samples should also be included.
The committee will meet in April to review submissions and select finalists who will be invited to submit proposals for the project. The Public Art Commission will be working with the community over the next year to raise funds to commission and install the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial.
To submit qualifications, artists are invited to visit this website.