Envelope might be a good choice, but I can get it to work for some reason.  We'll at least not how I think it should work. 
The other option is to do node sculpting.  Select all the nodes you want to move, in this case the ones along the bottome.  Then, grab the node closest to the center.  While holding down the alt-key move the center node up. Should move nodes closer nodes more and the nodes further away less. 

On 6/19/07, John R. Culleton <john@wexfordpress.com> wrote:
This is an interestng problem that was posed on another list. It
involves text enclosed in a rectangle which is altered with a shallow
arc across the base instead of a straight line. Therefore the text
becomes progressively smaller toward the center and then increases in
size again toward the right side. The text remains vertical. The
serifs follow the arc. This url points to an example:


Further the designer wants the two characters at each end to remain
unchanged.  The arc takes up 1/3 of the rectangle's width. The text
has spaces in it, such as "Joe's Bar and Grill."

What tools would you suggest to use in Inkscape for a problem like
John Culleton
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