Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Community gets to help create mural

Block party will accompany interactive event on Oct. 15

The community will be able to create a mural at 1305 E. State Blvd. on Oct. 15.

Published October 13, 2022

Public murals have become very familiar in the Fort Wayne area. But now the community gets a chance to help paint one.

Beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, Huntington resident and professional mural artist America Carrillo will paint a mural at 1305 E. State Blvd., and community members are invited to pick up a brush and help out. The Immersive Community Mural Experience will also include a block party with food, drinks, and music.

“I’ve been doing this for about a year now,” Carrillo said about incorporating the community into her work. “I’m super inspired by mural art because it is so available to the public. I really enjoy these micro moments of painting murals, just getting people’s reactions when they’re walking by.

“It kind of started because when kids would walk by, they’d be so mesmerized that I’d try to get a paint brush in their hands. Sometimes, if kids aren’t told by adults that they’re ‘good at art,’ they won’t try to paint. What I try to do is facilitate these experiences, so that even you’re not ‘good at art,’ you can still feel what it feels like to paint, which is a really amazing feeling.”

Using a paint-by-numbers concept at the building that houses The Painted Lady tattoo and piercing shop, kids are encouraged to participate. But Carrillo does have scheduled blocks for them, with 5-7 years old from 2-3 p.m., 8-12 from 3-4 p.m., and 13 and older from 5-7 p.m.

“That’s just because younger kids don’t tend to paint inside the lines,” Carrillo laughed. “So, I like to have the younger kids go first so the older ones can come in and do damage control.”

Carrillo has been painting murals across the country since 2017, visiting spots and sometimes using the murals as payment for a place to stay or repairs to her van.

In June, she spent four days at a Virginia elementary school, painting a mural with about 500 students, followed by stops at schools in Warren, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky.

“It’s just fun to express yourself,” she said. “You don’t have to be so hung up on the outcome. A lot of people don’t try to create because they are so hooked on the outcome of the creation. What I ended up with is like a paint by numbers, so you don’t have to think about the outcome. You start painting and you feel what it’s like to be outside and be among the community and beautify the community.”

In Fort Wayne, the mural was commissioned by Cardinal Healthcare Solutions.

“They hired me to facilitate an art experience on behalf of health care workers and long-term health care facilities,” Carrillo said. “So we have a design that pertains to that concept. Also, people are able to handwrite a memory they have of a passed loved one. So, it will commemorate passed loved ones and we’ll be collaging those handwritten memories into the design of the mural.”

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