Ceremony held to unveil Chief Blue Jacket statue
Sign more time, energy to be spent on South Side
Fort Wayne-based nonprofit Blue Jacket, Inc. dedicated a sculpture recognizing its namesake and honoring the great Shawnee War Chief Blue Jacket on Friday, July 15.
Allen County Commissioner Rich Beck and City of Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry were present issuing a proclamation along with a representative from U.S. Rep. Jim Banks’ office. The ceremony also featured 16 Shawnee descendants of Chief Blue Jacket who traveled from all over the country, predominantly Oklahoma.
“It is nerve-wracking to me that descendants bearing the name of this brilliant legend will be present, because I fear we will fall short in honoring the legacy of someone whose life story captivates me,” Blue Jacket Executive Director Tony Hudson said.
The 13-foot-tall fine art sculpture was created by local artist with an international influence, Sayaka Ganz.
When creating the sculpture, Sayaka spent a significant amount of time researching Shawnee culture and Chief Blue Jacket.
“I hope that this sculpture will give the people who come to Blue Jacket a sense of dignity and hope and a sense of resilience because of the use of the materials and also the subject matter portrayed,” she said.
The sculpture signals to the Fort Wayne community, specifically the south side neighborhoods, that Blue Jacket, Inc. is planning to invest much more time and energy into its campus, acting as a bellwether for an economic comeback on Calhoun Street south of Pontiac Street. Blue Jacket, Inc. wants to build upon the improvements made in the northern portion of this historic corridor by businesses such as Saigon Restaurant, Sanco Industries, the Oyster Bar, and Neighborhood Health Clinic and to also be the connector to the anchor South Side High School.
The sculpture will act as the flagship for a sculpture garden adorned with new landscaping, flag poles, decorative fencing, an upgraded gazebo intending to bring pride to Blue Jacket clients and neighbors alike to also serve as a place for meetings or a cozy respite.