Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Adding Art to the Mix

Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published August 16, 2018

Heads Up! This article is 4 years old.

As if hours of family fun, entertainment, arts, and cultural pleasures weren’t enough, the 10th edition of Taste of the Arts brings a new wrinkle to the arts booths and demonstration, hosted at Freimann Square.

Taking a cue from popular STEM programs — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — Arts United is adding art to the mix in its STEAM Park.

“We’re STEAM, not STEM, because we think the arts are such a critical part of creative thinking and should be part of it in our schools, so we’re adding the arts to make it STEAM instead of STEM,” said Dan Ross, vice president of community development for Arts United.

“More of our organizations are finding ways to bring creative arts together with science and engineering. We’ll be taking a slightly different approach this year. For example, the Embassy is bringing its pipe organ and will show the science of how the pipe organ works. Other organizations like FAME and Fort Wayne Youtheatre will also be incorporating technology in their demonstrations.”

Every year, organizations host kids art activities for free, but this year you can expect to see everything from bicycle paint spin art to slime creating, ballerinas dancing, and 3D printing.

STEAM Park is hosted in Freimann Square on Saturday, August 25.

In addition to those new features, Taste of the Arts will continue to provide all the things that have made it so popular for a decade.

The event kicks off on Friday night when a handful of food vendors and the Meet the Music concert provide a perfect block party, something that has become very popular in recent years. Julia Meek, the host for Meet the Music on radio and at Taste of the Arts, promises a fun and exciting evening for all.

“Of all the joyful celebrations here in the Fortland, I think Taste of the Arts best salutes our cultural vibrancy and solidarity,” Meek said. “And getting to kick the whole thing off each year the public radio way, serving up tasty, homegrown goodness with WBOI’s live Meet the Music Concert, just makes my heart sing.”

Come Saturday, when things kick off at 11 a.m., there will be plenty of fun, food, and arts to be enjoyed. While tickets for food vendors are available for purchase (at $1 per ticket) and can be spent at the trucks and tents where food is served (most treats are two to four tickets each), the rest of the event remains free and open to the public, allowing everyone to get their art on.

Many of Fort Wayne’s arts organizations will be on hand, along with plenty of fine artists, as Ross promises even more involvement than last year.

“For last year’s Taste of the Arts, Artlink took over the arts market and had 19 vendors on hand,” Ross said. “It was really cool, and they had people selling their arts and their craft materials and smaller items because people aren’t there to buy a $4,000 piece of fine art. The arts market was really well received last year, and this year we’ve almost doubled the number of artists with 35 participating this year.”

Among those returning to Taste of the Arts is artist Lisa Vetter of the Art Farm, a studio she owns with her husband Paul Siefert. Both use recycled materials to build everything from clocks to lamps, key fobs to jewelry. Vetter’s jewelry will be on display at Taste of the Arts, an event she returns to after a several years hiatus.

“I actually haven’t been available to do it in a very long time,” Vetter said. “I’ve been on the artist panel at Artlink the past three years so I’m really happy to be part of the event this year. I will say that I think it’s a wonderful showcase of local talent and a great community event. It brings people together from all over the area to celebrate all of the arts. I think it’s a great way to introduce people that may otherwise never see some of the performances or visual art, they may discover that they love the ballet or modern dance or a medium of visual art that they’ve never seen.”

Among the many food vendors who keep coming back to share their menus with the community, Mad Anthony has long been a supporter and will be represented once again this year.

“Taste of the Arts is a great event that we always love to be a part of here at Mad Anthony Brewing Company,” said Josh Volz, director of marketing and design for Mad Anthony. “We’re proud to be showcased with the rest of our community and share our love of craft beer and food with all of the visitors.”

In addition to all of that, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art is bringing the Kekionga Paint Out to the event, with more than two dozen artists coming for the weekend, including a stop at Taste of the Arts on Saturday. It’s a remarkable lineup that includes not only food, beverage, art, demonstrations, and performances, but also some of Fort Wayne’s talented musical performers who will fill 10 stages downtown throughout the day. It is truly the ultimate showcase for Fort Wayne’s vibrant arts community.

“The diversity is really overwhelming,” Ross said. “It’s one of my favorite things every year because it’s just remarkable to see the incredible diversity of the arts and cultural experiences available in Fort Wayne and our area. I really hope people come out to see what we have here.”

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