FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The University of Saint Francis celebrates the completion of a colorful composite mural, brightening the front of the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center in downtown Fort Wayne.
USF Studio Art Program Director Tim Parsley designed the mural, which combines 70 aluminum Dibond panels painted by Parsley and USF students during the spring 2022 semester Graycraft Signs installed the cut pieces with a process designed not to damage the ornate bricks of the building at 431 W. Berry Street.
“We are thrilled to see the completion of this vibrant mural,” USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer said. “I can’t say enough about the beautiful work completed by Tim Parsley and the students who assisted him. We also thank alumna Toni Murray for her support in funding the project. We hope everyone in the downtown area enjoys the mural as much as we do.”
Parsley’s design reflects the mission of USF, as well as the influence of St. Francis of Assisi.
“The birds are all here in Indiana and represent the launching of our students, with the idea that we are a place that sends them out into the world, and they fly,” Parsley said. “The birds also have a kinship with the story of St. Francis. Roses are symbolic of the rose gardens at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. At a time of trying to resist temptation, St. Francis tossed himself into the rose bushes and they retracted their thorns.”
Parsley pointed out that each color of the roses has a specific representation: white for the purity of the saints, yellow for St. Francis’ encouragement of spiritual life, red for love of the saints and purple for the regal presence of Jesus Christ.
The generous support of alumna Toni Murray (’71, ’72) along with the USF Division of Creative Arts, provided the funding for the project.
Students in Parsley’s Public Art and Mural Painting class who participated with the painting were Rebecca Ambrose, Skyler Charleston, Michael Easley, Lily Martin, Jennifer Meisner, Elizabeth Morgan and Sydney Spevak.
Parsley, a leading member of the Mayor’s Public Art Commission, has been involved in creating nearly a dozen murals in downtown Fort Wayne and has designed and executed many more throughout the country and one in Kenya. He completed a mural in upstate New York this past summer.
Parsley said the USF Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center mural was particularly challenging due to working with a different material and process.
“In some ways, it felt easier because we were able to be indoors while painting and not have to contend with weather delays and so forth,” Parsley said. “But at the same time, lugging these pieces around was a very different animal. At best, we were seeing it come together in small doses, which was quite challenging. However, I’m very happy with how it turned out and with the hard work of our creative arts students.”
Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the College of Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Sciences and Business. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the music technology program while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis, recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution, has 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships. Approximately 2,200 students from a broad geographic region attend USF.