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Mural Fest FAQ

What precautions are being taken in response to COVID-19?

We are monitoring all federal, state and local guidance regarding fall events and travel. Our top concern is the health and safety of artists, mentorship program participants, volunteers and all event attendees, and we are considering several possible scenarios for Mural Fest events. We plan to host a responsible, safe and fun Mural Fest in September 2020, and we’ve pushed back the application deadlines to give artists more time to respond during this challenging time.

How does it work?

Applying is easy! If you would like to participate in the Make It Your Own Mural Fest, we would like you to submit an application with a rough concept of your proposal(s). Your Make It Your Own Mural Fest proposals should reflect some elements of the Toolkit for the county for which you are applying. So, for example, if you like the look of Noble County's wall, below, take a look at their Toolkit, and see if you can pull some inspiration from their theme ideas. 

What's the timeline for Make It Your Own Mural Fest?

  • Applications open: March 26, 2020
  • Deadline to apply: June 14, 2020
  • Jury and Mentorship program selection: June 2020
  • All Artist and Mentorship program applicants notified: June 30, 2020
  • Make It Your Own Mural Fest: September 8-18, 2020 

What is Make It Your Own Mural Fest?

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.

The regional mural festival concept, the first of its kind in the state, will build 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 will all 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.

Each county of Northeast Indiana will participate, and specific mural locations will be determined through a county-led selection committee process with a combination of regional and local input.

Why are the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Arts United working on this project?

Make It Your Own Mural Fest will positively impact population growth and regional quality of place, supporting the region’s vision to be a magnet for the best talent and businesses.

The mural festival will continue to build on the immense success of the Regional Cities Initiative, bringing projects to all 11 counties. These murals will create a sense of regional pride, and the campaign will leverage current residents as ambassadors.

To increase economic stability, prosperity and population growth in Northeast Indiana, the region must retain current talent, accelerate the growth of new talent and add new businesses. This important element of the regional branding strategy will make Northeast Indiana well known and position it in a positive, progressive light.

Investing in arts and culture initiatives creates the environment for this prosperity and growth. In the 2019 Forbes article, “Why It’s Good Business To Support The Arts”, author Henry Kurkowski reports, “Promoting the arts can also positively impact the bottom line for companies that support these organizations. ... companies today are increasingly rated by their community involvement, ethics and social responsibility. It’s a way to stand out from the competition.”

Initiatives like this festival improve quality of life across the region. Quality of place increases retention of current residents and attracts new talent, increasing the size and skill level of the regional labor force, and positively affect business attraction efforts. This will result in a more credentialed workforce and increased postsecondary attainment. 

What are the goals for Mural Fest?

The Regional Partnership and Arts United have identified four goals for the mural festival:

  1. Enhance collaboration and unity among the 11-county region—building on the success of the Regional Cities Initiative: amplifying regional quality of place, increasing the number of visitors to the region and supporting talent attraction and retention goals
  2. Produce a series of highly visual representations of the Make It Your Own brand to incite experiential interactions for residents and visitors, highlight regional quality of life assets and catalyze additional high-quality public art creation in the region
  3. Drive national, state and regional media exposure to showcase Northeast Indiana as a creative, forward-thinking community with a high quality of life
  4. Create talent development opportunities for students and emerging regional artists through intentional mentorship relationships

Why murals?

Many of Northeast Indiana’s regional communities are utilizing public art to create a positive impact in their hometown. In downtown Fort Wayne, the Art This Way program has implemented large-scale murals in order to activate public spaces.

The 2019 Gehl Public Spaces + Public Life study, in partnership with the City of Fort Wayne, identified key strategies for activation. The study encouraged more art installations and suggested pilot projects that would build on the existing public art. They noted that murals transform spaces like alleyways into places to gather and enjoy, rather than places to “just move through.”

According to Americans for the Arts, public art engages a community, engenders a sense of pride and community identity, and enhances a community’s quality of life. Murals attract attention and economic benefit. Mural implementation is a key component of the strategy to engage with the public and activate underutilized public space.

Questions often arise around the longevity of a mural. The mural festival leaders have allocated funds for industry-standard wall preparation, which will ensure the integrity of the mural projects. Each project will utilize industry-standard paint and paint application processes, which will provide a high-quality installation. An exterior sealant will be applied to the finished murals to prevent weathering, color fade and mural patina. Taking these steps ensures a high-quality product, which could potentially last for decades.

When is Mural Fest happening?

Mural Fest begins on Tuesday, Sept. 8 and runs through Friday, Sept. 18. The final event will be in partnership with the Fort Wayne Downtown Improvement District (DID) and Art This Way Fort Wayne at the Art Crawl event on Friday, Sept. 18 near The Landing and Promenade Park in downtown Fort Wayne. Learn more about Mural Fest here.

Where is Mural Fest located?

The mural festival is located throughout Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties including Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties.

How long do the murals last?

Murals are expected to last 10-15 years.

Who is the primary audience for this event?

Mural Fest is an event open to everyone and all Northeast Indiana residents are encouraged to attend or participate.

How are artists selected?

Each county has been asked to develop a Steering Committee, identify locations for a mural, act as a liaison with the property owner and the festival committee, help with mural logistics, appoint artists juror(s) from each county, work with the event committee and promote the festival in their county. Alexandra Hall with AH Public Spaces coordinates the artistic jury selection process. The jury is made up of a selection of knowledgeable artists and representatives selected by the County Steering Committees. Learn more about our application process by visiting our Artists page.

What types of artists can apply?

International, national, regional and local artists are encouraged to apply for the mural festival. Artists are also encouraged to participate in the Mentorship Program, too. Artists and Mentorship Program applications will be available in the spring of 2020. Learn more about our application process by visiting our Artists page.

What does an "invitational-only county" mean? 

Mural festivals often invite well-known muralists from around the world to participate in the festival. To maintain a balance of regional artists and international artists, Make It Your Own Mural Fest will invite internationally renowned muralists in addition to providing open call opportunities. Each county was asked to decide if they would like to host an internationally renowned artist. 

How is Mural Fest funded?

Make It Your Own Mural Fest is funded through grants and sponsorships. Each county has been asked to provide a portion of the funding for their county’s mural. Sponsors include Parkview Health, Avangrid Foundation and 3Rivers Federal Credit Union. Learn more by visiting our Supporters page. If you or your organization are interested in volunteering or sponsorship opportunities, please Contact Us today!

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