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Iron Butterfly, South Bend, Indiana

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Butterflies are free.
Reprinted from the South Bend Tribune Aug. 27, 2008

So our group, the Howard Park/East Bank (HPEB) Neighborhood Association is "releasing" more than 10 of them into our area.

But these are no typical butterflies. They are made of iron with 5-foot wingspans and painted in a rainbow of colors.

The jumbo butterflies are the creative inspiration of Ed Wedow, a LaPorte artist with a knack for ironwork.

My husband Don Schefmeyer and I visited his workshop in the dead of winter last year. I told Ed, "I want a permanent collection of the butterflies to be in our neighborhood. I want them to be free for everyone to visit year round."

My dream included placing them in the yards of residents and businesses in Howard Park and East Bank. Then we are developing a free walking map which will lead visitors to them.

I think the butterflies are a symbol of hope and promise for our historic neighborhood, a charming place to live and work.

At the intersection of Jefferson and St. Louis, there is a butterfly perched on Barnaby's Restaurant's west wall. Nextdoor is another on the alley wall of Radecki's Galleries. Nearby two more butterflies are tucked away in the corner garden at the Zion United Church of Christ, 715 E. Wayne, including a stunning yellow swallowtail in memory of Joan Wagoner, a church member and a long-time supporter of our group. I wanted to honor Joan for her dedication so we gave the church a butterfly in her name.

Across the street at The Parkview Atrium, where my husband Don Schefmeyer and I work, we put up a vibrant orange and yellow butterfly at the entrance of the Parkview Atrium office building.

At CircaArts, 528 E. Colfax, features a lacy blue/purple butterfly. Glenda Lamont, a CPA who works at 219 N. Hill, has a showy butterfly near her front entrance and a darling dragonfly in the back courtyard.

This fall more butterflies are coming too, including ones at the Buttons & Bows, The Natural Way and Dr. Kathleen Neuhoff's offices – all on Jefferson. Howard and Pam Dosmann, owners of Northern Electric, 116 N. Hill St., are selecting a butterfly.

I've also contact AM General to see if they would like a Hummer butterfly, perched near the river.

To secure the butterflies, we poured concrete footers around the posts and then locked them down too. I don't want them flying away.

At Art Beat, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008, our association will have a booth featuring the artist Ed Wedow.

For the record, we officially will release the butterflies to the public then. It's their "coming out" party.

(Karen Murphy Schefmeyer is the secretary of the Howard Park/East Bank Neighborhood Association, which has dubbed her "Madame Butterfly.")

 

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