“Nothing," she emphasized, "is literal. This is an abstraction."
The river element flows across the mural and is "the unifying force. There is color harmony," she said, "but the river element holds all the elements together. It has so much motion. It's visually strong."
The river element is strong. The mural is heavy.
Seventy-eight tiles, each weighing about 40 pounds, make the McCroskey mural weigh more than a ton and a.hilf. The wall was rebuilt to accommodate the weight, and the installation was done by F&M Tile & Terrazzo of Fort Wayne. McCroskey worked withF&M from the beginning to find out what she needed to do to prepare the tiles for mounting. Special pinning anchors the tiles to a plywood base.
McCroskey began working on a relief model of "River Run" in January, and 'in March the selection committee gave final approval. The bulk of the work was done at the artist's studio; some of the tile work was done at IPFW. F&MTile began installation Aug.2.
"River Run" was a massive project, one McCroskey freely acknowledges she would not have been able to accomplish without assistance.
"I bounced a lot of my ideas off David Harman. He contributed to development of the design relief and worked with me in/executing the muraL" Other project assistants were Toria Betson and Pamela Voight, McCroskey's students at IPFW.
In commissioning the art work, the selection committee discovered "an awful lot of 'talent in Fort Wayne," said Edward Moppert, committee chairman."
McCroskey, he said, was the committee's unanimous choice. "In that particular piece," he said of "River Run," "she captured Fort Wayne."
Moppert, a Fort Wayne attorney, said the committee was impressed by McCroskey's observation that the wall area above the entrance to Anthony Wayne Exhibition Hall is "an impossible location. 'A pop of the eye, and then people would move on,' she said. She had excellent ideas."
The commission for "River Run" was $20,560.
Although she enjoyed art in high school, it wasn't until McCroskey took a design course at Maryland Art Institute, Baltimore, that she committed herself to art. "I knew this was what I loved, what I had to do my destiny,” she said, grinning.
She received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Maryland Art Institute and a master's from I.U.
McCroskey is happy with “River Run." And she's relieved it's done.
As with other works she has "around town," McCroskey thinks it is possible she will visit “River Run" now and then. Her works include a terra cotta relief sculpture, "Holocaust Memorial” at Achduth Vesholom Congregation, 5200 Old Mill Road; a wall sculpture in the lower lobby at GTJ Headquarters, 8001 W. Jefferson Blvd.; and a wall sculpture at LincoIn National Life Insurance Co., 1300 S.Clinton St.
That is why, from time to time an artist may be riding the elevator in the lobby of Grand Wayne Center.