Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Tried and true join brand new at this year’s Taste of the Arts

Storytelling, STEAM, and samples of beer


Michele DeVinney

Whatzup Features Writer

Published August 15, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

As summer wanes, one of the highlights of the season is still ahead of us.

Taste of the Arts, which combines the joys of food and the arts, continues to grow. Each year brings both the tried and true and new aspects waiting to be enjoyed.

Music and Dance

Of course the entertainment is a key aspect, and many area arts organizations — including Fort Wayne Ballet, Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Summit City Music Theatre, and more — show off their talents while area musicians take one of the many stages throughout the arts campus to perform.

Alicia Pyle, whose quartet has grown a large following over the years, looks forward to participating in Taste of the Arts each year.

“Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne is the powerful nucleus of our entire arts scene in Fort Wayne,” Pyle said. “The wide range of projects and organizations alone that they support, the diversity they celebrate, and the education they prioritize is why our arts scene is vibrant and growing at a rapid rate.

“I saw this 15 years ago as a high-school aged blooming artist and it’s why I chose to stay in town for my education and shape my career here. Thank you Arts United, and bravo on your yearly celebration of all things arts with the ‘Taste’ event. At this event, we as artists honor with you the amazing work you’ve done and the vast landscape you’ve built with us.”

Stories and Art

Much of the action takes place on Saturday, August 24, with artists and artisans hosting booths where art fans can help support their talents by purchasing a variety of pieces, from jewelry to paintings and everything in between.

Also part of the day will be the Kekionga Plein Air Event with artists stationed at various locations so visitors can watch the magic happen right before their eyes. And the NIPSCO Steam Park, which puts the Art into STEAM, will return again with more connections between the arts and other disciplines.

Among the new features will be a visit from the Human Library, a project which is putting a strong focus on narrative history and storytelling. The Human Library was begun early last year, and Arts United has found a way to bring the project, which seeks to bring a depth of understanding and acceptance within our community, to a wider audience at Taste of the Arts.

“Human Library was recommended to participate in Taste of the Arts 2019 by a committee member,” said Heather Clossen, grant and program manager for Arts United. “I met with them initially in May to learn more about their mission and how the organization might best fit into our festival structure. During the festival, they’ll feature up to 5 Human Books at a time, allowing festival attendees, or ‘Readers,’ to sit down and hear the Book’s story. The conversations will be shorter than usual, offering a ‘taste’ of what Human Library brings to our community. The Human Library will be located within the Barrett McNagny parking lot area, which has been re-imagined to include several interactive activities for festival attendees.

“I’m excited that we’re able to include the Human Library in Taste of the Arts,” she added. “Personally, I feel as though the art form of storytelling is often overlooked, but it’s truly woven into so many other mediums of art. Theater, dance, visual art — they all tell stories. Human Library encourages Books and Readers to engage in open dialogue, learning perspectives they otherwise would never know. I’m definitely looking forward to being a Reader myself.”

Food and Beverages

Although Saturday is the big day for Taste of the Arts, with activities running from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Friday evening will also be special.

Between the hours of 5 and 10 p.m. Taste of the Arts will have a few participating restaurants on hand for some tasting while the art continues to provide plenty of entertainment. Among the highlights will be a live version of the popular WBOI Meet the Music with its beloved host Julia Meek there to make it shine.

There will also be a performance by Pyroscope, one of the popular aspects to Buskerfest, some laughs with MMJ Comedy, and in a preview of their efforts on Saturday, a bit of Kekionga Quick Draw with Fort Wayne Artists Guild.

Another highlight of Friday will be the Beer Tasting, a chance to purchase local brews. In addition to the area breweries participating will be Three Rivers Distilling Company who have their own special products.

“Three Rivers Distilling Company is excited to be pouring our local spirits at this year’s Taste of the Arts, along with our partners from the Northern Indiana Brewer’s Association and showing how creativity extends beyond the visual and performing arts in Fort Wayne,” said Katy Silliman, vice president of retail operations at Three Rivers Distillery.

“We will be offering free samples of our wheated bourbon, rye whiskey, and coffee liqueur. We will also be selling our top-selling cocktails: Heaven & Hell with our passion fruit syrup, jalapenos, and Harvester Vodka, as well as our Savannah Gentleman, featuring our Wheated Bourbon, peach nectar, and vanilla.”

The Beer Garden on Saturday will allow those good times to continue as more than 70 performers will take the stage, dozens of restaurants will have bites available (tickets for food can be purchased at a conveniently placed booth), and artist booths will line the streets at the heart of Fort Wayne. Sampling everything offered is encouraged.

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