Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Covington Plaza gets artistic with fair

National, regional artists will be at annual juried show


Anthony Gadson

Associate Editor

Published June 22, 2022

The wait is nearly over for local art enthusiasts.

On June 25-26, the Covington Art Fair returns to Covington Plaza, drawing fans and artists from far and wide.

“We have a good amount of local artists, which I mean from Fort Wayne, Spencerville, and Ossian,” coordinator Glenda Stoppenhagen said. “But we also have some of Ohio and Michigan, as well as some coming from California, Florida, and Oklahoma. It really is regional and national.”

Along with a mailing list, Stoppenhagen credits the artists who attend the fair with getting the word out.

“Artists are a close-knit group, so if one has a good experience, they might tell another,” she said. “We’ve been around 30 years, so we have a bit of notoriety.”

A Lot to Like

According to Stoppenhagen, the art fair began 30 years ago as a way to attract more customers to the plaza. Owned by local company Bobeck Real Estate at the time, the fair served its purpose and has continued with strong support, even after the plaza was sold to national companies.

“The tenants have been fully on board,” Stoppenhagen said of shop owners at the plaza.

Artists have also been on board.

“They like that it’s in a parking lot, because they can just drive up and set up,” Stoppenhagen said. “It’s all about ease.”

Artists might be able set up with ease, but the same can’t be said for getting invited to the show. To get into the juried show, artists must submit photos of their work and booth, which is then judged by a panel.

“It’s upper-tier art,” Stoppenhagen said.

Slight Changes

Although the art fair has been around 30 years, that doesn’t mean it’s remained static. Stoppenhagen said the only “hiccup” during that time was its cancellation in 2020 due to the pandemic. Then, it was pushed back a couple months in 2021, with a minor adjustment made this year.

“It used to always be weekend of Father’s Day, but I always thought, ‘Most dads don’t want to be dragged to an art show,’” Stoppenhagen said. “In 2021, things were still iffy with the pandemic, and there were five weeks in August, so that made it easier for artists to join.”

Now held the week after Father’s Day, the only unknown will be the weather.

“It really is hit and miss,” Stoppenhagen said. “It could be mild, in the 60s-70s, or like it is now, but people come no matter what. Fort Wayne has a very loyal following.”

Along with a large variety of artwork to peruse, such as acrylic, watercolor, woodworking, glass, pottery, jewelry, and more, attendees will enjoy some jazz music, food trucks, and the popular kettle corn.

Providing the jazz music Saturday will be Chris Rutkowski, Michael Patterson, and Rich Cohen from 10 a.m.-noon; Kevin Piekarski, Jerry Farrington, Steve Smeltzer, Rick Brown, and Scott Allen from 12:30-2:30 p.m.; and Walter Brath, Michael Patterson, and John Weber from 3-5 p.m. On Sunday, Dave Latchaw, Kevin Pierkarski, and John Kaplanis will perform from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

The art fair runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, June 26.

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