City asks for community feedback on new MLK Jr. monument

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – In celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Fort Wayne residents have the opportunity to provide input on which phrases from Dr. King’s speech in Fort Wayne on June 5, 1963, resonate most with them.

Their votes will support the development of a new “Pillars of Hope and Justice” monument honoring the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to Fort Wayne. The monument will be placed at the southeast corner of the USF Performing Arts Center parking area at 420 West Berry St. where the speech was given.

On Monday, the City released the following:

On October 28, 2021, The Public Art Commission announced the selection of RE:site and their proposal of Pillars of Hope and Justice. The monument features six pillars set in a circular configuration around a stone or concrete plaza. Each pillar will evoke both ancient architectural pillars and growing reeds of papyrus that emerge from the ground and bend outwards at the top. The organic form of papyrus reeds evokes Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision of nonviolent resistance. The sculptural, steel forms will be waterjet cut with words from King’s 1963 speech in Fort Wayne. The waterjet words dramatically arc over visitors, evoking King’s statement, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” The pillars are planned to be approximately 15’ tall. LED ground up-lights will be installed in the center of each pillar, so that they can be seen at night.

Residents will have the opportunity to help determine which phrases from the speech are included in the pillars through rating a selection of statements from Dr. King’s speech in 1963. Residents can support the creation of the Monument through ranking statements here. The survey will be available until February 28, 2022. Results of the survey will be shared with the community in the Summer of 2022.

Mayor Tom Henry and Fort Wayne City Council created the Public Art Program and Public Art Commission in March2018. The primary purpose of the Public Art Program is to enliven and enhance the city through the promotion and integration of artworks into the public realm and assist with city-led beautification efforts. For more information and to read a copy of the Art for All! Public Art Master Plan, click here.

Survey Link