Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Science Central’s proposal for a planetarium gets a boost

Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published January 9, 2020

Santa Claus came early for Science Central when the Fort Wayne City Council approved a $500,000 grant from the city’s legacy fund the week before Christmas. 

Having already raised more than $1 million toward the project, that approval left only some paperwork between Science Central and its long hoped-for plan for a planetarium. Once those papers are signed, sealed, and delivered, work can begin on the planetarium. 

Martin Fisher, executive director of Science Central, said the sequence of events from that point will be to contract for the architectural design and then proceed with construction and installation. 

Those who mourn the 2016 closing of the University of Saint Francis planetarium will be heartened to know that the venue’s star ball will be at the core of the Science Central planetarium installation. Fisher estimates that construction and installation will take roughly a year, making an opening in early 2021 likely.

Jesters receive funding

Also receiving an important grant are the Jesters of the University of Saint Francis, an organization which provides performance opportunities for those with developmental disabilities. 

The grant, awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, was for $30,000, a $5,000 increase from last year’s award. In addition to support from NEA, the Jesters program is also made possible from additional financial support from AWS Foundation, the M.E. Raker Foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, the James Foundation, the Indiana Arts Commission, and Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne. 

To learn more about the Jesters, visit

Celebrate with chocolate

With another holiday season in the books, it’s time to cast our collective eyes toward Valentine’s Day. Ignore it at your own peril.

Fortunately there are some pleasant ways to celebrate that can be as fun for the giver as the recipient. One sure fire way to go is chocolate, the almost universal favorite. 

The John Chapman Kiwanis Foundation has turned fundraiser into friendraiser with their ChocolateFest which takes place on Friday, Feb. 14. For $40 per person, visitors can enjoy three chocolate dipping stations, dinner and cash bar, live music, and a silent auction. The event takes place at Orchid Events Center in New Haven from 6-9 p.m. For more information call (260) 749-4901.

Great American Songbook

Fort Wayne is home to many talented artists, particularly musicians, and the rich tradition of choirs, show choirs, music classes, and musical theater has given even the youngest of artists a chance to develop their talents. 

Down the road is the home of the Great American Songbook Foundation in Carmel, Ind., thanks to Michael Feinstein’s involvement with the Performing Arts Center there. 

This year’s Songbook Academy brings together 40 of the country’s most talented high school students to receive master classes, workshops, and mentoring from professionals from around the globe. There are veterans who address topics like vocal technique and song interpretation as well as music history, business concerns, and auditions for college arts programs. 

To apply, students are invited to send a video with performances of two contrasting songs. Among acceptable options are hits from the Broadway stage, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and jazz standards written between the 1920s and 1960s. 

Applications are due March 15 and include an $80 fee, but those who apply by Feb. 15 receive a $30 early-bird discount. 

For more information, visit their website at

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