Featured Local NewsSpotlight

New Mural By Local Artist Adorns Community

Artist Julie Wall grew up skating at the Roller Dome South on Bluffton Road. And now, the local artist’s talents have brought her full circle.

The former Roller Dome South, now a collection of vintage sales booths known as The Rink, recently had the local creator paint a flowery mural scene to adorn the outside of its structure with an uplifting new embellishment.

“We always wanted to have a mural, and the building was kind of boring and white and needed some color,” said Jonele Bilby, co-owner of The Rink.

Bilby described the work as an expanse of “big, bold, beautiful flowers with glittery starbursts that pop. She [Wall] also signed the mural with her name on the bottom next to a roller skate.”

Bilby noted that Wall began working on the scene in early May and took about a week to complete.

Shuttered for years after going out of business at 4540 Bluffton Road, the old Roller Dome South was reborn as The Rink Vintage and Antiques earlier this year. The new business offers about 20,000 square feet of sales space and roughly 140 booths of merchandise scattered throughout the hardwood sales floor that once hosted local roller skaters.

Wall has a long history with the rink. Her family had owned the business since it opened. In addition, the family also owned the companion rink, The Roller Dome North, which still operates at 444 W. Coliseum Blvd.

As a youngster, Wall started working at the roller dome in sixth grade, and did everything from working concessions, to being a DJ, to cleaning up the building, including picking gum up off the floors.

She said working in, and spending time at, the rink was just a part of growing up in her family.

“I was born as an employee. I started working early on, serving birthday parties there when I was in the sixth grade. The first day you could walk was the first day you were on skates,” Wall joked.

Wall, now a 38-year-old local artist who has painted several other murals around Fort Wayne, also owns and runs a business in town called The Hedge, a shop that sells artwork, recycled and up-cycled goods, as well as doing custom laser cutting and engraving work. That store is located at 1016 Broadway Avenue.

Bilby said selecting Wall to do the work was a natural choice for her business.

“She grew up in the building, so it was nice for her to paint something pretty for people to enjoy,” Bilby said. “And what a great way to put Waynedale on the map of Fort Wayne.

Wall, who noted that she did the work for a “nominal fee,” noted that not only was it gratifying to help beautify the building where she grew up, but she was delighted to see the building still attracting patrons.

“I am so happy they’re still there,” Wall said. “It’s just a wonderful thing to still have them around, and I think it’s going to be a great addition to this side of town.”

Michael Morrissey

Michael Morrissey

Michael is a professional writer and journalist. He attended South Side High School and Northwestern University. He has written for newspapers in Michigan City, Indiana; Pekin, Illinois; and Bradenton, Florida. He also has written for and edited websites in Florida and San Francisco, California. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer