In the fall of 2017, Spark Placemaking began activating public space at Electric Works, the former 31-acre General Electric campus in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana. In the near future, Electric Works will be renovated into a mixed-use district of innovation, culture and community that is seamlessly integrated with other downtown development projects currently underway in Fort Wayne. Spark Placemaking, Big Car’s statewide program for public engagement and programming, is one of several collaborators on this project beginning clean up and construction in spring of 2018.
Our Spark Fort Wayne team is excited to lead the creative placemaking of Electric Works in partnership with RTM Ventures, the partners who are developing the property. Our primary goals for Spark Electric Works programming are to honor and celebrate the history and legacy of the community and the site, and engage with nearby residents, community artists and local businesses in meaningful ways as Electric Works evolves.
On Friday, Nov. 17, Spark Electric Works hosted a successful first public kickoff event at Electric Works. The event resulted in 1,000-plus visitors who enjoyed a block-party style celebration with a pop-up public plaza in the street at Swinney and Broadway Avenues in front of the former GE Club. The free launch event included a campus lighting ceremony, opening remarks by Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and project partners, art activities led by Fort Wayne artists, outdoor games, local food vendors, and music. Many visitors walked to the Electric Works launch event from the surrounding neighborhoods of the site and from Christmas on Broadway, a popular annual tree-lighting celebration in Fort Wayne.
Our goals for this event were to raise public awareness of the Electric Works project, increase the public’s enthusiasm and support for Electric Works by sharing a taste of what is to come, and help a diverse group of people in Fort Wayne and beyond know that Electric Works is for them and with them. We also wanted to show that this is a place where people can get together comfortably and safely to celebrate Electric Works, Fort Wayne and it’s artists and businesses, the neighborhood, and each other.
You can check out our photos and videos from our Electric Works launch event here, and see more coverage of the event in The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, The News-Sentinel, and on WANE.
Spark Electric Works will collaborate regularly with the residents around the Electric Works site and the greater Fort Wayne community on exciting upcoming projects in 2018. Stay tuned!