David Young, co-founder of one of the city's largest advertising agencies, is packing his bags and heading for Vancouver, British Columbia.
This month, Young will oversee the opening of agency Young & Laramore's first Canadian office, which is being set up to grow the firm's 2nd Globe division in the Pacific Northwest.
2nd Globe, a 12-year-old division dedicated to bringing art, architecture and commerce together, is the brainchild of Young and is known for its work on several high-profile central Indiana projects.
2nd Globe designs, fabricates and installs public art, often incorporating it into a building's design. A 52-foot, threedimensional mural outside Junior Achievement's Keystone Avenue headquarters and a 12-foot bronze "Firefighter" in front of Fire Station 14 on 30th Street are among its local projects.
Its push into the Pacific Northwest will focus on Seattle and Portland. It will also seek projects in Vancouver, nearby Victoria and the Whistler ski area.
"The potential of this move is difficult to estimate," said Y&L CEO Paul Knapp. "I'd be the first to admit, this is an experiment. But the area is very fertile for the type of work 2nd Globe does."
2nd Globe officials are making their move after a five-year study of the area. They hope to use the expansion as a springboard to take the effort global. Knapp said 2nd Globe expects to gain exposure to architects working in Asia and other parts of the world.
The idea behind 2nd Globe's work is to help cities and businesses brand themselves through their artwork. It's a concept embraced in the Pacific Northwest for decades.
Tony Costello, professor emeritus of architecture at Ball State University, sees 2nd Globe's expansion as a solid move.
"Competition for their services will be greater there, but anyone in architecture and planning will tell you this region is at the very forefront of progressive planning and public artistic works woven through the fabric of their architecture," Costello said.
It's common for governments in Washington, Oregon, Nevada and regions of Canada to mandate that 1 percent to 2 percent of a capital project's budget go toward artistic features. For instance, in King County, Washington, a $100 million structure would be required to have $1 million dedicated to artistic work that a company like 2nd Globe specializes in.
"Areas around Seattle and Portland have been working on the aspects of public art longer than most regions, in some cases more than 30 years," said Greg Bell, spokesman for 4Culture, King County's cultural services agency. "There's a belief here that public art improves the overall aesthetics of not just a building, but the overall site and area of the community."
There's no such ordinance in Indiana, and some say less support for public art in the conservative Midwest.
Bruce Bryant, president of Indianapolis-based Promotus Advertising, isn't surprised by 2nd Globe's expansion.
"I've known the folks at Young & Laramore more than 20 years, and their artistic ability is what has always set them apart," Bryant said. "They've grown aggressively, and have been determined to make a national name for themselves. Given the talents of David Young and his staff, I think this could be the area where they really break through on the national stage."
Young, who is moving his primary residence to Vancouver this summer, will initially be the sole employee at the new outpost. He will work with a network of area free-lance fabricators and artists that company officials have already developed.
Young plans to add a project manager and studio assistant, then later a production manager as the workload increases.
2nd Globe doesn't have any clients signed yet in the Pacific Northwest, Knapp said, but company officials have several solid leads.
He declined to disclose the revenue for Y&L or 2nd Globe, but industry experts said with the way the Pacific Northwest is growing, and with its passion for public art, the new office could represent a seven-figure revenue stream in two to three years.