Video: Fort Wayne artist Tim Parsley is painting a mural to celebrate lake life in Warsaw

Tim Parsley, a muralist and professor of art at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, is adorning the Dennie Building in downtown Warsaw with a new mural that celebrates Kosciusko County's lake culture.

Located at 212 S. Buffalo St. (home of the Glam Boutique), the new mural draws attention to Warsaw’s nature, recreation, landscape, and wildlife that make it a regional attraction, Parsley says.

Tim Parsley works on a mural in downtown Warsaw.

As the county seat of Kosciusko County, Warsaw is known for being situated around three lakes: Center Lake, Pine Lake, and Hidden Lake. These water features, along with their adjacent beaches and parks, set the tone for the area’s culture, built on lakeside dining, paddle boarding, fishing, ski shows, swimming, and kayaking.

Parsley's mural is part of the first Make It Your Own Mural Fest in Northeast Indiana. From Sept. 8-18, 2020, the Make It Your Own Mural Fest is inviting artists from the region and around the nation to install 11 new, permanent murals in the cities of Fort Wayne, Columbia City, Warsaw, Garrett, Albion, Angola, LaGrange, Geneva, Bluffton, Huntington, and North Manchester.

The festival, which came out of a brainstorm session at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, is part of the group’s 11-county Make It Your Own branding initiative to attract attention from creatives and innovators looking for their next place to launch a venture or build a life.

Parsley's mural features lake life and wildlife native to the Warsaw area.

Like the benefit of having lakes in a community, murals offer cities the opportunity to create points of interest for themselves that will ultimately make them even more attractive to residents, says Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer.

He believes the Make It Your Own Mural Fest is doing just that in Warsaw.

“Art improves the walkability of a community and is interesting, beautiful, and pleasurable to look at,” Thallemer says. “The appeal that a community has is what brings people to that community.”

Tim Parsley works on a mural in downtown Warsaw.

As a muralist, Parsley started his career in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he has done about 12 murals. He also has a broad repertoire of work, spanning six murals in Fort Wayne, one in New York City, and one in Nairobi, Kenya.

He, too, sees art as being part of the kaleidoscope of ideas that form a community and define a place. Ultimately, he gauges the success of art by the impact it has on people to shake up their routine ways of thinking, living, and operating.

“The best public art is art that interrupts our routine,” Parsley says. “It makes you stop in your tracks…. When we associate public art with a place we’ve been, it can be a powerful anchor to where we’re from and the communities that we live in.”

Parsley's mural features lake life and wildlife native to the Warsaw area.
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