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PFW Students Share Art at the New Bradley Hotel in Downtown Fort Wayne

Photo by Johnny Min

As the July 2021 opening of The Bradley Hotel came closer and closer to fruition, the Provenance hotel chain – the parent company of the Bradley – began looking for ways to tie the boutique downtown attraction to the community even more. As opening day began to loom, that piece of the equation was already set as they contacted Rebecca Coffman, Chair & Professor of the Department of Art and Design at Purdue University Fort Wayne.

“Provenance Hotels contacted me a year ago, maybe longer ago, about the new hotel,” she said. “I liked what they stood for and their interest in featuring works of art in the hotel. They asked if I was interested in exclusive gallery space, and I was interested but had to talk to my faculty first. They were gung-ho from the start so we decided to move forward.”

With the department on board, and part of the decision-making team for choosing the exhibit pieces, Coffman moved forward with the plan to feature the works of current students and recent alumni to curate an exhibit which, for the moment, is limited to two-dimensional works. Among those featured is recent grad Johnny Min whose photographs are prominently displayed in the Bradley exhibit. Although he was focused primarily on graphic design, photography has quickly become his artistic passion.

“Social media platforms like Instagram made me think more about photography,” Min said. “I started looking at how photographers took photos and was first using an iPhone then got a camera. It worked hand in hand with graphic design.”

Min is putting his education to good use already, serving as the new art director at Creative Cat Marketing in downtown Fort Wayne. In his spare time, however, he continues to capture images which convey a host of emotions. Although first reluctant to share his photos for exhibit, he has come to feel more comfortable with the process and was excited to share his work in the Bradley exhibit.

“It was a crazy feeling,” he said. “I never thought I’d be chosen for the Bradley exhibit when I was submitting my photos. It means a lot to me.”

Min chooses subjects which convey a certain mood and emotional depth.

“I like a more documentary style that’s not too posed,” he said. “I’m capturing a moment that’s real and raw. I prefer a more natural look.”

Now free from the constraints of classes and the university routine, Min is finding a happy balance between his new career and his work as a photographer.

“I certainly have more time than I had in college when I had to focus on my college courses,” Min said. “With more time I have the ability to plan shoots and think it through more. And I’m able to upgrade my equipment and move on to even better things.”

The current exhibit of PFW students and alumni is in the Bradley until December when Coffman will curate the next set of works for display. She’s happy with this new partnership and the opportunity to share the talents of her department.

“I am thrilled with this partnership with this lovely hotel,” she said. “It’s a gem of an addition to the downtown area and will host many guests to this city. I’m thrilled that we get to be a part of it. It’s a great opportunity for our students and alumni to get their work out there.”

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