Public Art Commission and Downtown Fort Wayne Celebrate the Ukraine Sculpture Installation with the Community

Public Art Commission and Downtown Fort Wayne Celebrate the Ukraine Sculpture Installation with the Community

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, January 17, 2023
Contact: Alexandra Hall, Director of Art This Way, 260-417-5925
[email protected]

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Art This Way, a program of Downtown Fort Wayne, is pleased to partner with the Public Art Commission (PAC), City of Fort Wayne, Arts United and Fort Wayne Sister Cities International to celebrate a new public art installation in Downtown Fort Wayne.

Designer Torey E. Dunn II of ReVolt Design with Midwest Metal Products, with the help of local artist and designer Lena Balger of Arts United, created the over fifteen-foot-wide piece. Balger is a Ukrainian immigrant who worked closely with Dunn to incorporate significant Ukrainian symbolism into the work “Na Krylah Nadi,” which translates to “On Wings Of Hope.” This title was inspired by the poem “Contra Spem Spero” by the famous Ukrainian poet Lesya Ukrainka.

Balger painted the stylized headdress, Vinok, in a traditional Ukrainian folk style. While the crown has deep historical meaning, it has also become Ukraine’s familiar symbol of peace. Each flower within the crown is representative of aspirations of courage, hope and strength. Each of the more than 300 individual feathers were laser cut with symbols borrowed from Ukrainian folk embroidery.

“We are extremely excited to be part of bringing the visions of storytelling and experiences to reality through the design and fabrication of unique computational designs and sculpture,” said Dunn. “To tell the story and impact of Ukraine and its people through the articulation of a phoenix while celebrating and implementing cultural symbolism in the finer details is what we love doing here at ReVolt—and it’s an extreme honor to work with so many creative and unique people on this journey of storytelling and experience making. We are very excited to work with everyone to bring this beautiful piece of art to Fort Wayne and look forward to seeing what impact this can have.”

The sculpture’s unique design encourages the public to engage with the artwork. The signage allows visitors an opportunity to help Ukrainian refugees by donating through the Fort Wayne Sister Cities International website, FortWayneSisterCities.net.

“Seeing the sculpture On Wings of Hope coming to life here in Fort Wayne fills my heart with a feeling of unity, empowerment, heroism, support and hope that sooner than later, the war in Ukraine will be over—and we will all be celebrating the victory in Ukraine together,” said Balger. “This work supports every country currently supporting the brave fight to protect democracy. This project also demonstrates that the City of Fort Wayne cares for all its community members, and the city is here to help them express their life stories. I hope to see a lot of visitors from in and out of town taking photographs in front of the sculpture and sharing their photos and stories on their social media in support of Ukraine.”

The sculpture will be installed on the south façade of 814 Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46802, on the side of the Dash-In restaurant within the ‘Bill Blass Runway.’ The sculpture will add another experiential element to the space, which is saturated with public art.

The public is invited to attend the dedication on January 19, 2023, from 4:15-6:00 p.m. This latest public art installation is intended to celebrate the country of Ukraine and will add diversity to the evolving urban landscape of Downtown Fort Wayne.

The Ukraine Sculpture project is fully funded by the Fort Wayne Public Art Commission (PAC).

For more information and to follow along with updates on this project, please go to ArtThisWayFW.com.