Concordia fifth-graders help IPFW celebrate

Fifth-grade students at Concordia Lutheran Elementary School in Fort Wayne are doing their part in Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne's signature 50th anniversary project, Sculpture with Purpose. The Concordia Lutheran School fifth-graders have decorated a bicycle that will be featured in artist Suzy Hendrix's "A Time for You," one of the 50 Sculpture with Purpose bike racks that will provide form and function on the IPFW campus and around Fort Wayne. The fifth-graders' bike will be attached to Hendrix's sculpture near Neff Hall when all the bike racks are officially unveiled during a celebration on campus on Saturday, May 17. All 34 fifth-graders at Concordia Lutheran School, led by teachers Angie Owen and Melanie Walter, participated in the bike project. Owen and Walter learned of the opportunity for their students to participate through FAME, the Foundation for Art and Music in Education. Both Angie and Melanie are active members of FAME. "Melanie and I thought this was a good way to engage our students in art, reach out into the community, and raise awareness of our school," Angie says. Although the design of the bike is based on the children's book "The Imaginary Garden", the nature of the decorations were left to the students, who created insects, flowers, vines, and portions of a garden gate from a host of art supplies and recyclable materials. "We didn't show our students examples-we just gave them the idea, and then let their creativity take over," Angie says. "It was a great way for our students to work and learn together. They shared their ideas and then collaborated on the project. Our students are very excited to be part of this and really proud of their work. "Our students even talked with the artist, Suzy Hendrix, via Skype," Angie adds. "Suzy explained to them how she went about creating her sculpture. That was a wonderful experience for our students, too." The goal of Sculpture With Purpose is to celebrate IPFW's 50th anniversary during the 2013-2014 school year and to promote health and wellness by creating 50 bike racks that would serve as functional art. The sculptures were crafted by artists in seven states. Twelve of the sculptures will be located on the IPFW campus, while the rest are downtown and in other areas of the city.