The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department introduced a new landmark in downtown Fort Wayne on Wednesday. The “Megaflora” sculpture is located outside the entrance of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory and was created by area sculptor Cary Shafer.
The 36-foot-tall sculpture consists of a mix of limestone and steel, and features a steel ornament abstraction of a plant stamen, framed by two large limestone blades. It was carved from 24 blocks of Indiana limestone and weighs nearly 20,000 pounds. It was funded in part by the Journal Gazette Foundation and the Capital Improvement Board.
“It is a great pleasure to be able to put my skills and passion to use on such an iconic sculpture, at such an iconic downtown location,” Shafer said.
Shafer said he could not have completed the work “without the insight and help of people whose specialties are required, and it starts with the engineers.”
He said he is the biggest fan of the Parks Department and “great people that want to improve the city.”
Megaflora is part of the Botanical Conservatory’s mission to educate and preserve as the sculpture’s design attracts attention to a plant’s smallest detail and magnifies it to a monumental scale. In addition, Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation worked closely with the Public Art Commission to create a new public art showpiece in the heart of the city.
“Today, we are adding a new dimension to the public art scene in downtown Fort Wayne, here at the Botanical Conservatory,” said Steve McDaniel, Parks and Recreation director. “This sculpture promises to become a new landmark destination here at the corner of Jefferson and Calhoun.”
“Today we are excited to be here to help unveil — and really there is no veil to unveil — this awesome new addition to our facility,” he said.
“Downtown Fort Wayne continues to grow and evolve in a variety of ways,” McDaniel said. “The public art has been a very important path to this growth, and we are excited for what we see here today.
“Anyone who visits our downtown can see the amazing murals, sculptures and artistic surprises around every corner.”
“We perceive plenty of selfies showing up in social media with Megaflora as the background, along with all the other great public art in the downtown area,” McDaniel said.
For more information about the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, visit BotanicalConservatory.org.