Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Public art takes stage at conference

Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published August 29, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

Public art has become a national trend and Fort Wayne is one city that has fully embraced the premise that art brings both beauty and economic stimulus to an area that is reaching out to recruit new businesses and citizens to our hometown.

As artistic as the Fort Wayne community is, there are a variety of ways to contribute to that trend. On Sept. 19-21, the City of Fort Wayne hosts the Regional Neighborhood Network Conference, a three-day workshop wherein the subject of public art takes center stage.

The press release describes the weekend:

“The Fort Wayne organizing committee is planning an event filled with outstanding learning opportunities. Attendees will have the opportunity to take various guided tours throughout Fort Wayne’s neighborhoods. The tours will offer a look at historic neighborhoods, the Electric Works development, housing and urban development in southeast Fort Wayne, innovative parks and recreation programs, a tour of local breweries and more. Workshop topics include: promoting safe neighborhoods, improving urban housing, public art, marketing and social media for neighborhoods, volunteer recruitment, working with diverse populations, neighborhood recreation programs, and more.”

The keynote speaker for the event is Rochester, N.Y., artist Shawn Dunwoody, who himself has promoted public art as a means of furthering urban development in his own city. As part of that effort, he founded the Fruit Belt Project where five teenagers worked on murals and other art projects around Rochester.

The conference, dubbed “Play in the Fort,” hopes to further demonstrate how public art helps promote growth and cultural and social interaction, opening doorways for bettering the city from its very roots.

The fee for the workshop is $150 through the end of August, then $175 after Sept. 1. The fee includes access to keynote speakers, workshops, tours, and full meals from Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon.

The link to register can be found at their website:

H.O.P.E. for Animals Fundraiser

Those who provide loving homes to dogs, cats, and other living creatures most likely call themselves pet parents rather than owners. The animals who find homes are truly family members to those who adopt them, and opportunities to help find more homes for sheltered dogs continue to grow as more and more animals search for foster or forever homes.

One local organization which is working hard to help that situation through adoption and controlling the population is H.O.P.E. for Animals, a spay/neuter and wellness clinic which provides no- or low-cost services to more than 15,000 pets per year.

One way in which those services are funded is through the annual Hip-to-Snip Fur-ball Bash, held on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 6-10 p.m. at the Memorial Coliseum. Last year’s event raised more than $31,000 for the organization.

This year’s event promises to be a fun one, including food, friends, casino games for fun, music, and a wide array of silent auction items. And, not surprisingly, there will be adoptable dogs on hand for families to visit and maybe take home.

Tickets begin at $75, but the $125 VIP ticket includes early entry and availability to see silent auction items, a free drink coupon, extra appetizer selections, and entry into a drawing for a free trip to Disney World.

For more information about the organization and its fundraiser, visit

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