Colorful message

Wahli Enterprises commissioned this mural facing Wells Street in Fort Wayne to reflect community and diversity.

Drivers along Fort Wayne’s Wells Street will catch a bit of color and shine from a recently added mural.

Wahli Enterprises had artist America Carrillo create the mural on the side of its building at 416 W. 4th St. over July.

“We really wanted to make a positive statement,” Ben Wahli said.

Wahli Enterprises serves as the umbrella for his real estate, staging and decorating businesses.

The building had been vacant will lots of trash. Now it’s bursting with color.

The mural in the Bloomingdale neighborhood is about community and diversity, Wahli said. Part of the artwork includes a woman’s face that’s comprised of multiple skin tones. That’s intentional, Wahli said, so that all people are represented.

Wahli saw Carrillo’s work and she agreed to do the mural, which included bright colors, wavy lines, buildings — another reflection of community — and sunflowers, a favorite of Wahli’s wife, Tammy, and pieces of smashed mirror.

“This is a new thing I’m doing,” Carrillo explained in a video with Wahli of the swirling mosaic of reflective glass. “So what happens is when cars drive past on the road it reflects into these mirrors and it creates a sparkle effect. I’m all about the sparkle.”

Carrillo shows that the edges are completely safe, so no one can get cut on the glass. She wants to use the technique on her future murals.

Wahli hopes to have an impact on the neighborhood, and bought a couple of other properties on the block.

He is enjoying seeing people use the mural as a photo backdrop, including for at least one wedding party.

Carrillo, in the video, said she’s heard from people in the neighborhood about the impact of the public art creating positivity among viewers.

“Somebody was talking about how they have to be on their best behavior now at this bar (next door),” Carrillo said. “There’s something about public art that evokes this idea, ‘Oh, this is a good positive thing. I have to be positive too.’”

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