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Mural Location: 520 West Jefferson Boulevard

Theme:  Engage, Serve and Advocate for Fort Wayne’s Youth

Subjects:  Ephraim Scott Smiley III & Omowalé-Kétu Oladuwa

Artist:  Michael Johnson

Ephraim Scott Smiley III

Ephraim Smiley Frost illustrated article pictureEphraim was born and raised in Fort Wayne. He is passionate about teaching and empowering young people to dream and to accomplish those dreams with “grit”, character, integrity, and love.  One of his tools to achieving this is through the game of basketball.  He knows firsthand the life altering benefits he has received from this team sport both on and off the court – life lessons and relationships that have been developed.  The loss and trauma Ephraim has personally endured - and that have been inflicted on the Black youth, families, and Fort Wayne’s SE community - ignites the passion in his heart and spirit to be boisterous and weep.  Through the game of basketball, he teaches young people not only basketball skills but principles of life and character.


To view Ephraim Scott Smiley III's nomination video click play below:

Omowalé-Kétu Oladuwa

Image 3In 1966, Omowalé-Kétu Oladuwa was wrongly accused, tried, and convicted for a murder he did not commit. He spent five years on death row and was released in 1971.  After his release, he became an elder of poetry and griot in the Fort Wayne community, bringing people together in a variety of creative venues that have nurtured Fort Wayne residents for decades. Kétu has a BA in Theatre from Fordham University and an MS in Journalism from Northwestern University. He’s taught hundreds of Fort Wayne’s children, teens, adults, elders with Three Rivers Jenbe Ensemble, has been the Artistic Director for Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture (TRIAAC), and taught journalism at IPFW. Additionally, he has been an editor/journalist at the former Frost Newspaper, is a poet and organizing artist for RootFolks Ensemble, and has produced, co-created, and founded numerous organizations including the Identity Counts Cultural Consultant (ICCC), Big Apple Jazz Club Series (bringing NY style jazz sets to Fort Wayne’s Wunderkammer), and, “Death Row Shadows”- (which was founded with his daughter, RasAmen Oladuwa  to “[shed] light on mass incarceration through storytelling.”

To view Omowalé-Kétu Oladuwa's nomination video by Curt Chrisler click play below:


To view a video of Omowalé-Kétu Oladuwa discussing his story click play below:


Artist: Michael D. Johnson

Picture111Michael D. Johnson is a unique artist. As his persona DJ PupLuv•theARTIST, Johnson brings to life his love of music through songwriting and music production. He started drawing at an early age and spent time in Atlanta, Georgia learning art through trial and error before returning to Fort Wayne to pursue his passion for art and be with his family. At his Concept Seven Art Studio in Fort Wayne, Johnson illustrates his soulful view of the world through a variety of art platforms. Johnson states “I believe that exposing others successes in the right way can ignite a sense of pride, hope and confidence in those that might not even be aware that they need it, such as my younger self.”






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Faces of the Fort is an initiative of the Fort Wayne Public Art Commission. Visit FortWaynePublicArt.com to learn more about our projects and initiatives!