Julia Meek seems to be a ubiquitous presence in Fort Wayne. Who hasn’t had the experience of hearing her on the radio one day, seeing her at Hyde Brothers the next, sharing a house with someone who has her art on a T-shirt and looking at pictures of her romantic but unconventional wedding on Facebook – all within a week? Well, maybe not everyone has had that experience, but some of us have – and it doesn’t take much special effort to achieve it.
A talented graphic artist, she has beautifully captured some of Fort Wayne’s most treasured landmarks and scenic stops with art that has graced everything from notecards to the aforementioned T-shirts. Her understanding of what makes our city tick, even if it’s a building which no longer stands but remains seared into the hearts and memories of the locals, is impeccable. No doubt that understanding comes from her deep understanding of roots, the kind of folk music and lore which she shares with the city through her radio show as well as in her interactions with all of the people lucky enough to spend a few minutes with her.
She has also used her radio forum to help Fort Wayne meet its talented musicians, practitioners of all kinds who radiate in the warmth she projects on-air. Not everyone in the city hangs out at the local bars and clubs where many of the bands and performers ply their trade, but Meek extends a hand and continually coordinates shows which catch lightning in a bottle, week after week. Her melodious and recognizable voice has become a central feature at NIPR where she hosts Folktales and Meet the Music, two shows which allow her to share two of her great passions.
Although a local legend in her own right, Meek seems determined to shine the light on others, which makes her honor as a Liddell Award winner at the 2014 Whammys particularly sweet for anyone who appreciates her selfless promotion of what this city has to offer. An active community volunteer, she has poured her heart and soul into Fort Wayne. And on Whammy night, Fort Wayne was able to show some love in return.
“I was asked to come to present some awards, so I wasn’t expecting this at all; it was a complete surprise,” said Meek moments after the presentation.
Presented the award by Doc West, a previous winner of this award, and Bob Roets, who was to be honored with one just moments later, Meek wasn’t expecting the tribute on stage to be for her. As Roets listed her many accomplishments, which included an early Whammy as Best Visual Artist, and noted her 30 years with WBOI, Meek moved to the stage, clearly stunned. Shortly after, she talked about what makes her so happy to help put this city on the map.
“I was born and raised in Fort Wayne – I’m a ‘Forthead,’” she said. “I love Fort Wayne and love all the music that makes Fort Wayne so special.”
Meek is also no stranger to C2G, the Whammy venue for the second consecutive year. She regularly visits the site with a live version of Meet the Music, providing her talented co-stars an opportunity to really share their music in more open spaces. While she loves to laud the talents and accomplishments of others, she admits that part of her disbelief when she was presented with the Liddell Award was that she isn’t used to being lauded herself.
“I’m usually on the other end of these things, and that’s where I like to be. I just love what I do and don’t think anything about it. I spend an inordinate amount of time with music and the arts, so being at something like this where so many are honored is a special treat.”
In the excitement backstage, with Meek, West and Roets gathering for photos, there was a definite mutual admiration society at work. Meek shared a story about she and her husband stumbling into Roets and his wife Cindy while both couples, unbeknownst to each other, were hiking in Zion National Park in Utah. Roets says he has a great friendship with Meek and talks of their pleasure in helping each other promote music in Fort Wayne.
“She has me on her show, helps me to promote National Record Store Day or some of the music that’s appearing at Wooden Nickel. And I help her out too, giving her a hand with the Meet the Music shows at C2G. So winning this award with her is a real honor.”
West, himself honored with another Whammy for Favorite Radio Personality this year, probably summed it up best as he was congratulating her moments after her presentation.
“She scares me she’s so good.”
by Michele DeVinney
Thursday, April 27
Click on the headings below for full calendars
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Community Unity — Community dinner, games and prizes, and neighborhood safety forum, 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, Jennings Recreation Center, Fort Wayne, free, 427-6028
Issues and Ales — Panel of experts discuss important issues in the community with audience Q&A , 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, Calhoun Street Soups, Salads and Spirits, Fort Wayne, free, 456-7005
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Click header for complete Music & Comedy calendar
Chris Worth — Variety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Fort Wayne Comedy Connection — Comedy at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Hubie Ashcraft — Acoustic at River View Tavern, Decatur, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 724-3500
Open Mic — Hosted by Mike Mowry at Pedal City, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 415-6167
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Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Pine Valley Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m., no cover, 490-9464
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at AJ's Bar and Grill, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 434-1980
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Josh — Karaoke at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m., no cover, 422-5055
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., ,
Karaoke w/Bucca — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Karaoke with Rooster — Variety at By: Belle Haven, South Whitley, 8 p.m., no cover, 866-716-9243
Shooting Star Prod. w/Stu — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Shut Up and Sing — Karaoke at Duesy's Sports Bar, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 483-5681
Three Rivers Karaoke — at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 483-1311
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Little Shop of Horrors — IPFW Department of Theatre performance of Alan Menken-Howard Ashman musical comedy, 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, April 26-29, Williams Theatre, IPFW, Fort Wayne, $5-$18, 481-6555
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37th National Print Exhibition — Juried exhibition featuring contemporary printmakers from around the nation, Tuesday-Sunday thru May 5, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195
41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Echolilia — Works from Timothy Archibald and his autistic son, Eli, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
Diane Allen Groenert — Exhibition of local artist’s Downtown Series and new works, Monday-Saturday thru June 24, West Central Microcreamery & Cafe, Fort Wayne, 415-9293
Expressions of Existence — An exhibition of works by artists through history, including Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Francisco Goya and others whose works have been influenced by disabilities, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne Photographers Club — Exhibition featuring local photographers, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 30, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Jan Krist-Finkbeiner — Exhibition of ceramic reliefs, Tuesday-Sunday thru May 5, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195
Kathy Funderburg & Diane Schafer-King — Acrylic paintings (Funderburg) and works in marbled paper and fabric (Schaefer-King), Monday-Saturday thru April 29, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Sharon — An exhibition of Leon Borensztein photographs chronicling the struggles he faced raising his severely disabled daughter, Tuesday-Sunday thru June 11, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $6-$8 (members, free), 422-6467
SOCA Graduate Program: Student Highlights — Juried exhibition of works by students enrolled in USF’s School of Creative Arts graduate program, Monday-Friday thru April 30, Lupke Gallery, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring Palette — New original works by more than 50 nationally recognized artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru April 30, Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568