Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the unveiling of the Janeway bust has been postponed.
by MOLLY BRUSH
Bloomington has its fair share of famous sons and daughters, but it also has the rare distinction of being the future birthplace of a sci-fi icon: Star Trek: Voyager’s Captain Kathryn Janeway, the first female captain on a Star Trek series.
In Star Trek lore, Janeway will be born in Bloomington on May 20, 2336. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Captain Janeway Bloomington Collective, on May 23 the City of Bloomington will honor her with a bronze bust on the B-Line Trail. Festivities that day will include events at WonderLab Museum of Science, Health and Technology exploring the science of Star Trek, followed by a 21-and-over party in the evening. California sculptor Aaron Eby is creating the bust, which will be cast by Sincerus Art Center in Indianapolis.
According to the Rev. Mary Ann Macklin, senior minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington and a member of the Collective steering committee, the motivation for honoring Janeway goes beyond her local connection. The character has become an inspiration for women, especially those in leadership positions and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. “There are a lot of people who have seen this character as a good model for a leader,” Macklin says.
Paying tribute to Janeway has long been a goal of local Voyager fans, but nothing came to fruition until mid-2019, when Bloomington residents Peter and Mary Beth Kaczmarczyk approached metalworker Adam Nahas about creating a sculpture of Janeway.
Nahas suggested raising funds through Artisan Alley, which provides space, resources, and creative services to local artists. With the support of Artisan Alley and the City, the Collective was formed and began a crowdfunding campaign through Patronicity. Individual donations were matched by grants from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, allowing the Collective to quickly meet its $30,000 goal. Plans are to continue fundraising and to host annual events—possibly including a future visit by actor Kate Mulgrew, who portrays Janeway in the series.
The timing of the effort is fortuitous, says Nahas. Not only does 2020 mark the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Voyager, but Mulgrew has recently become known to a new generation of fans through her role on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black.
“It’s creating this bridge between older generations, younger generations, the science people, the math people, the fantasy/sci-fi people,” he says. “It’s really bridging the gap between a lot of different subcommunities.”
For more information, visit janewaycollective.org