Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Several ways you can support the arts to help them through this time


Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published April 15, 2020

These are uncertain times for those of us who love the arts. 

Canceled concerts and events have deprived us of ballet, orchestral performances, and theatrical offerings. Many of the events you’ve read about in recent issues of Whatzup have been eliminated from the community calendar. 

But if it’s a bad time for audiences and appreciators of the arts, it’s an even more difficult time for the artists and arts organization who face an uncertain economic future.

While some performers and musicians are salaried, many more are not, leaving them unsure of what their income will be in the weeks and months ahead. Not-for-profit arts organizations base their budget on ticket sales and performances that have been scheduled months or even years earlier. 

While concert venues can usually postpone or reschedule national performers to a time later in the year, arts organizations and venues are locked in with no option but to cancel and move forward.

 In light of that, there are ways to help. If an arts organization has canceled a performance — such as Fort Wayne Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s Carmina Burana, and the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre’s Cole Porter Celebration — consider making your ticket purchase a donation to them rather than requesting a refund. 

The Arts Council of Indianapolis suggested ways to help our arts community during this critical time:

Check arts organizations’ social media for updates if you plan on attending an event that is still happening.

If you feel ill or are more vulnerable to illness, stay home.

Most arts groups are offering a refund policy or exchange for tickets to events that have been canceled. But consider donating your unused ticket back to the organization if you can.

Consider buying a membership or subscription to an organization. Or make a donation.

Advocate for arts groups and ask them how you can volunteer and help.

If you have hired musicians or artists for an event and had to postpone, consider paying them now as you work on rescheduling. This helps freelance artists who depend on these events to pay bills.

Until things return to normal, stay safe and remember that the 2020-21 arts season is just a few months away. Continue to support the arts in whatever way you can.

New life for the old Amish Acres

Although it’s very hard to get beyond current restrictions, there is some good arts news in the forecast. 

Many were heartbroken to learn of the closure of the beloved Amish Acres which had been providing northeast Indiana with sterling productions of many of theater’s favorite offerings. It’s annual production of Plain and Fancy gained national recognition as the theater performed the play to more than 300,000 patrons in 3,000 performances over the years. The closing felt like the end of an era.

But the good news is that there’s new life for that old barn. Although the soft open on Easter weekend may well be postponed, there are still big plans for the venue now named The Barns of Nappanee, home of Amish Acres. 

The new owners are Osmium Holdings, which includes former United States Congressman Marlin Stutzman, former Jayco RV managing partner Jason Bontrager, and John Kruse, whose family owned Kruse Museums in Auburn. 

The property sold at auction for $4 million and included the Amish Acres business, the Round Barn Theater, an inn, and several other buildings. 

The ownership plans to place the focus on farm-to-fork on its menu, provided by LaSalle Hospitality Group. 

In a press release, Stutzman promises that the venue will continue to make its visitors happy.

“While the Barns at Nappanee will continue to be an attraction for travelers from all around the country,” Stutzman said, “there will be an increased focus on the establishment of new facets of the property that will have a direct appeal for locals as well.”

News and Venues covers Northeast Indiana’s music and arts organizations, venues, and colleges, from large to small. Send your news items to info@whatzup.com.

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