La PORTE — Plaza 618 in Downtown La Porte has a 108-foot blank wall…but not for long. Soon it will feature a mural created by Indiana based artist Tom Torluemke.

Torluemke is scheduled to begin painting the mural on Monday, June 10, and estimates completion in 6-8 weeks, weather permitting. The community is encouraged to stop by Plaza 618 this summer and watch as the image appears.

According to a press release from the Visual Arts Council of La Porte (VAC), Torluemke has more than 20 public art commissions throughout the Midwest, and was selected because he was the one artist who demonstrated an ability to customize a mural relevant to its location.

The VAC said its members provided initial direction to the artist on possible themes, but ultimately Torluemke had creative control over what to depict and the story he wished to tell about La Porte. In order to make his mural accurate, Torluemke spent months visiting locations such as the La Porte County Historical Society Museum for inspiration. He interviewed citizens of La Porte to hear their stories and reportedly viewed thousands of photos to lend deeper meaning to his depictions in the mural.

On May 31, Mayor Mark Krentz introduced Torluemke to an audience of donors at the Thaddeus C. Gallery to be the first to view the mural design. The VAC said the design received overwhelming approval and applause.

According to the VAC, the organization was formed about a year ago in response to a growing desire for public art within the community. Comprised of art professionals and individuals with an understanding of art's expansive role in community development and economic growth, VAC coordinated with the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation (now LEAP) and the city of La Porte. The groups determined the mural would be the perfect inaugural public art project to further the visual energy at Plaza 618 already created by the splash pad, Joyful Noise instrument and colorful umbrellas.

Sponsors and donors of this project will be recognized at a final ribbon cutting and ceremony upon completion this summer.

For more information email, or follow the Visual Arts Council of La Porte on facebook, (@visualartscounciloflaporte).

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