IPFW will start off the opening of its Sculpture with Purpose bicycle racks around town on May 17 with what university officials hope will become a new community festival — Kickstart.
The event will be held in conjunction with the Fort4Fitness Spring Cycle event, Visit Fort Wayne's 65th anniversary open house, and Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana opening the Barr Street Market for the season.
“The whole downtown will be alive with things,” said Irene Walters, the university's executive director of university relations and communications.
IPFW planned to hold an event to celebrate installing 50 sculptures also built to function as bike racks, Walters said. The university commissioned the community art project to mark its 50th anniversary this year.
Conversations with other local organizations led to several joining in, and the event morphed into Kickstart, which is billed as a celebration of bikes, art and music presented by sponsor Parkview Health.
The festival will take place from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. in the plaza area in front of the Arts United Center and Fort Wayne Museum of Art in the 300 block of East Main Street.
Kids activities begin at 10 a.m., with the IPFW Sculpture with Purpose presentation at 11:30 a.m. Activities from noon to 4 p.m. will include the Visit Fort Wayne open house, Downtown Improvement District trolley rides around downtown and a variety of theater, dance and musical performances organized by Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.
Local food trucks will provide food and drinks. Fort Wayne Trails will offer valet bike parking.
“We hope this will be an annual tradition,” Walters said.
This is the only year IPFW will be involved as an organizer, however, she said. The other groups plan to take over planning for future years.
Walters and IPFW officials envision the Sculpture with Purpose bike racks being both functional and an attraction local residents and visitors will want to see.
Thirty-two will be located downtown, 12 will be at IPFW and six will be placed at local corporate headquarters, Walters said. Work on installing the sculptures should begin in April.
“We would have started earlier,” she said, “but the weather has been a rather big impediment.”
Visit Fort Wayne is developing printed and online maps — available May 17 or in early May — that people can use to visit all of the sculptures, said Kristin Guthrie, Visit Fort Wayne's marketing director.
To help people recognize the sculptures are functioning bike racks, Walters said IPFW also arranged for school students and people with disabilities to create art on 45 recycled bicycles. The public also can help decorate five additional bicycles during the F.A.M.E. Festival this weekend at the Grand Wayne Convention Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd.
On May 17, one of the “bike art” creations will be attached to each Sculpture with Purpose bike rack, Walters said.