A showcase of the arts welcomed residents to Superior Circle tonight as music filled the air and Mayor Tom Henry joined with dance performers and art supporters to celebrate Fort Wayne’s newest landmark, the gateway sculpture ‘City’. The sculpture is designed by local artist George Morrison, and offers an abstract view of a city skyline.
The sculpture at Superior Circle is part of the gateway improvement initiative from the Community Development Division. Artist George Morrison worked with City planners and Arts United to develop a unique art piece that could reach across generations and become a conversation piece for the Fairfield/Ewing corridor and future riverfront development.
In 2014, City Council committed to plans for the Front Door Fort Wayne Plan, to add to the aesthetics of the community by making our gateways more inviting and places of destination.
The project is funded by the gateway fund through the City’s Community Development Division and concludes a two-year collaboration between City staff, Morrison and Arts United.
“The arts are essential to the quality of life in our community. It’s fitting that we highlighted the arts with tonight’s dedication,” said Mayor Henry. “As we celebrate the arts, we also recognize the significance of infrastructure improvements to corridors throughout our City. Enhancements to streets and roads, along with our new gateway sculpture, assist us in our efforts to continue the positive momentum we’re experiencing.”
“My vision was to create an abstract city skyline that is constantly evolving. It has varying sizes of different colored poles—that in the distance look like an abstract skyline. But in a roundabout, since you’re moving in a circle, the sculpture is constantly changing – at times it will line-up in a grid which is how it was built, and at times it will look abstract,” said Morrison, sculpture artist. “Every viewer will see something different – it may be whimsical to some, thought-provoking to others and I want my art to be viewed differently by everyone who sees it. I incorporated geometry in this design, falling back on my architecture career, to create something that would have a different view from every perspective. Those looking at the sculpture will see something different from every angle – just like one would see a skyline.”
Superior Circle is the entry point to the multi-phased improvement to downtown’s west end. The project has included a complete streetscape with landscaping, a park strip to protect pedestrians, new lighting, bike lanes and a conversion of traffic to two-way on Ewing Street and Fairfield Avenue from Superior to Baker streets.
The improvements also included the addition of bike lanes on Main Street and new landscaping and wider sidewalks on Jefferson Boulevard, as well as the accommodation of two-way traffic on Baker.
Superior Circle serves as a gateway connecting the community to an evolving Fairfield and Ewing corridor. The traffic circle offers safe pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle access to Parkview Field,; to the downtown Allen County Public Library; to new downtown living options at The Harrison and Cityscape Flats; to higher education offerings by the University of Saint Francis at the soon to open USF Business Building and the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center, to local churches; the well-established Historic Wells Street Corridor and to future riverfront development areas.
Currently, City staff members are working with Arts United and art experts representing universities, museums, professional artists and art collectors, to examine with best practices, guidelines and standards for adding art to public spaces. The group will make recommendations to the City for consideration in making future project decisions.
Arts United Vice President, Dan Ross, emceed the event and the evening was capped off with the lighting of the sculpture, brightly illuminating the red, green, blue and white upright spheres that make up the artwork. Seconds after the lighting, the performance ensemble dAnce Kontemporary, celebrated with a performance.
Assistant City Engineer Patrick Zaharko, has lead the multi-phased Fairfield/Ewing corridor improvements, including Superior Circle. The City’s Community Development staff members, Pam Holocher and Russell Garriott, planned and lead the gateway project that includes the ‘City’ sculpture. Many local workers and companies were active in the construction of the Superior Circle construction, landscaping, sculpture and lighting installation and signage, including American Structure Pointe; roundabout and street design/engineer, Brooks Construction; road/sidewalk roundabout and corridor construction, City Lights and Signals Inc.; sculpture installation, Henry Electric; sculpture lighting installation, Harlow Enterprising; landscaping installation, Paint the Town; signage, and the City’s sign shop; sign installation.
Additionally, sculptor George Morrison, collaborated with Eric Sank, Design Collaborative; electrical engineering, Jon Underwood, ESL Spectrum; lighting, Kurt Heidenreich, Engineering Resources, foundation design, Kevin McCrory, Landplan, landscape design.