ANDERSON, Ind. —
Creator of The Walking Man Project in Anderson
The Walking Man urban art project symbolized everything that Levi Rinker believed in, as far as admiration for his community.
Found around town this past summer, the walking men pieces of art — 10-foot-tall metal figures — were presented as moving forward, an action reflecting the Anderson’s native hopes for the area. With support from sponsors, more than two dozen art figures were seen in front of businesses and buildings. Residents were encouraged to visit each and get a stamp from the sponsor.
Rinker saw the project as resting on a tripod supported by businesses, artists and the community. Businesses had to accept the project and provide backing for it to exist.
“It’s highlighting them, not just the sculpture. They’re the vision behind it. They’re the ones moving forward. The sculpture is kind of an icon for them,” Rinker said.
Rinker called on hundreds of businesses and got a wide range of reactions; some wouldn’t listen while others strode forward with him.
The project captured the imagination of the community.
In April, Mayor Kevin Smith interviewed Rinker on Smith’s Saturday morning radio show. The mayor said art projects could help the city’s identity.
“Think about driving up I-69 either north or south and you’re not from this area ... and say you saw these 29-30 structures all walking along I-69 in Anderson. Would that not be unique?”
Co-founder of the Geater Community Center’s Thanksgiving dinner and radio personality
James Warner has been helping serve the Madison County community with free Thanksgiving meals for 30 years.
But it’s not all he’s done as co-founder of the Geater Community Center’s annual Thanksgiving dinner.
“If I can help somebody, then my living is not in vain,” is Warner’s theme, wrote Jessie Rozier, who nominated him.
Along with the annual dinner that fed nearly 2,000 people in 2012 — some deliveries are to the elderly or sick unable to get out — Warner has supported the Black History Program, the Fire House Project and can be heard singing with his group, the Heavenly Five.
A retiree of General Motors, he’s also a local radio personality and member of the MLK Commission that organizes a three-hour radio show, including a panel of about 30 community leaders, for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Birthday Celebration at the Geater Community Center.
The show is a roundtable discussion about King focusing on education, employment, civil rights and social justice.
Through radio broadcasts, Warner has also brought nonprofit organizations into the spotlight and helped them receive donations.
“Mr. Warner is a very humble man that does not mind stepping back and allowing others to step forward,” Rozier wrote.