The south side of Jerry Flack’s building at the northeast corner of Main and Market streets will become home to a new downtown mural this fall. (Photo provided)
The south side of Jerry Flack’s building at the northeast corner of Main and Market streets will become home to a new downtown mural this fall. (Photo provided)
Bluffton revitalization officials plan to put a mural on a downtown business exterior and are looking for an artist to do the job.

Artists are to submit requests for proposals for the work, which will be created on the southside of 101 N. Main St., located at the northeast corner of Main and Market streets and owned by Jerry Flack. The brick wall is about 3,200 square feet and the mural may cover the whole surface, with the exception of the windows.

According to information found online at www.blufftonnow.org/mural this is a national call-out for artists, who must be 18 years or older to be considered.

“Bluffton NOW! and other community leaders are dedicating significant time and effort to leading this process,” Michael Lautzenheiser Jr., president of Bluffton NOW!, said in a press release. “Large-scale mural projects like this will infuse art and culture into our downtown, further improving downtown’s status as a destination within our community.”

Artists interested in creating the mural at Main and Market streets are asked to download an “‘artist toolkit’ to study the unique story of Bluffton, research the wall location specifications and submit their qualifications if interested in constructing a mural that resonates with the historical past of Bluffton and Wells County interests,” the release also said.

Possible inspirations listed in the documents include the Ouabache State Park fire tower; the county’s namesake, William Wells; the interurban rail system; the Wabash River; the Bluffton Free Street Fair; the community’s nickname, Parlor City; and the iris flower, referencing the history of a large iris farm that was once visible in the Bluffton area and detailed in the book, “The Longfield Iris Farm.”

The online documents also say the mural should include historical highlights from Bluffton and Wells County; be “interactive, inviting the viewer to take photos and selfies with the artwork;” and serve as “a must-stop photo destination in downtown Bluffton.”

The artist stipend is listed online as between $3,000 and $8,000 and there will be a separate budget for supplies, which Bluffton NOW will order. The artist is required to stay within the budget and any unused material will remain the organization’s property.

Equipment may be rented such as scaffolding to complete the project. Other costs such as travel, lodging and food will not be covered.

The deadline to submit applications and qualifications is Wednesday, Aug. 12. After 10 members of the Wells County Mural Committee select the artist and design, notification to applicants will be made by Aug. 20. The mural is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.

“I have been in downtown Bluffton, Ind., since 1972 and have seen a lot of changes,” Flack, the building’s owner said in the release. “I believe that constant change will keep our downtown alive.”

The project is in conjunction with “Make It Your Own Mural Fest” put on by Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. The event aims to create 11 murals in 11 days — from Sept. 8 to 18 — in the region’s 11 counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

As part of that 11-day effort, Wells County’s mural will be installed at the Parlor City Plaza.
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