If you've driven or walked down Main Street during the past week, you probably noticed a new mural going up over at PNC Plaza on the side of Sweets on Main, 123 W. Main St.
Artist Lyndy Bazile, the South Side High School graduate behind AfroPlump, is creating the piece, titled “Pontiac Street.” She previously created an Art This Way mural, “Woven,” at 222 Pearl St.
Much of the artist's work shows female figures in natural spaces. In a biography on her website, Bazile says she uses her artwork “to explore my Haitian ancestry in an attempt to better connect with my roots.”
“Through art, I am attempting to reach beyond dominant culture to include and support the historically marginalized, creating images that celebrate multiplicity and evoke pride in diverse identities,” the bio continues.
The artist will be working on “Pontiac Street” during Art This Way's Art Crawl tonight. The event includes nine locations, each with music and live art. There will also be appetizers from local vendors included with admission, and cash bars.
Locations can be visited in any order. Proceeds from the Art Crawl help pay for public art projects downtown.
Bazile answered these questions via email. The conversation has been edited.
For more information about Bazile and to see her portfolio, go to LyndyBazile.com.
Q. What does it mean to you as an artist from Fort Wayne to be able to add permanent – or at least semi-permanent – pieces to the city that will be there for the public to see every day?
A. Being able to create public art in Fort Wayne means that I have an opportunity for my messages to be seen by folks in my own city, who I might otherwise never have the chance to interact with. This means I must be intentional about the messages that I choose to portray and thoughtful about how those messages will be received by those with differing perspectives than my own.
Q. What are your inspirations for the new Main Street piece?
A. As investors and developers are moving southeast, I want to make preserving and supporting the cultures of that area the top priority. I fear that current residents and cultures will be displaced if we are not intentional about how we are growing.
Q. From a muralist's perspective, why should people support Art This Way and come out to the Art Crawl?
A. Art This Way gives Fort Wayne an amazing opportunity to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of our creative community. Encouraging creativity and inspiring honest communication is the most important thing we can do right now.
Q. Creating a mural isn't just slapping paint up on a wall. What are the things that the public doesn't think about when they're looking at the finished product – the things that might make them appreciate it even more?
A. Finding the message or idea that feels most important to explore at any given time is always the most difficult part of the process for me. I have to wade through my own insecurities to face whatever feels most critical in order to reflect it back to my community. I believe that public art offers a chance for public growth and I don't want us to miss that opportunity.
Q. What is on your bucket list as an artist?
A. I would love an opportunity to return to Haiti, where my father is from, to practice, study and create with other Haitian artists.
If you go
What: Art This Way's Art Crawl
When: 5 to 9 p.m. today
Locations: Utopian Coffee + Kitchen, 118 W. Columbia St.; The Landing, 100 block of West Columbia Street; 125 W. Main Gallery, 125 W. Main St.; PNC Plaza, 123 W. Main St.; Start Fort Wayne, 111 W. Berry St., Suite 211; Porch Off Calhoun, 800 block of Calhoun Street; Dash-In, 814 S. Calhoun St.; Otter Alley, 900 block of South Harrison Street; Dessert Stop Gallery, 112 W. Washington Blvd.
Admission: $25; for tickets, full schedule, go to ArtThisWayFW.com