'Fantasy' Bike Racks to Dot Cityscape

By Eric Olson

March 17, 2014 Updated Mar 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, In (21Alive)--We’ve visited Cary Shafer’s Fort Wayne studio often over the years, this visit in 2002 found him carving a gorgeous, massive limestone mantelpiece for a client. Shafer is one of this country’s premier sculptors and the Southside grad has taken his skills many places, including a stint working on Washington, DC’s National Cathedral. Our most recent visit to Shafer’s studio, however, found something unexpected.

Cary Shafer has branched out, now fabricating artworks of steel instead of stone…working on two bicycle racks, one called ‘Unicycle’, the other ‘Curiosity’…that will soon join 48 others on the streets of Fort Wayne as a gift from IPFW, celebrating the university’s 50th anniversary.

“It’s going to add a lot to the streets themselves,” says IPFW’s Ruth Stone, “change the look of them.”

Stone is IPFW’s project manager for the public arts project, called ‘Sculpture with Purpose’. She has models of each of the fifty bike racks being created by 23 artists from around the country. This is Cary Shafer’s ‘Unicycle’….this is his ‘Curiosity’. The bike racks will be placed around the city…30 of them in the downtown area. One of them, titled ‘Confluence’, is already installed in Freimann Square.

“We wanted to give back to the community that supported us over the last fifty years,” explains Stone. “And so we’re hoping this gift back to the city will let the city know and all its residents that IPFW is really very happy to be here we’re proud citizens of this community as well.”

Most of the bike racks will be in place by mid May. That’s about the time Cary Shafer will pick up hammer and chisel and resume work on a classic limestone sculpture that’s been sidelined by the bike rack project.

“I’m looking forward to being able to design things with stone and steel in mind,” Shafer says, “but I’m having a blast with this.”

Eric Olson reporting, out in 21 Country.

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