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Taste of the Arts 2012
By Eddie Torres
Fort Wayne Reader
Arts United offers an exciting line-up for their fourth annual Taste of the Arts festival on Saturday, August 25, a major downtown event featuring theatre, dance, many styles of music, street performers and high-quality visual arts.
The original goal in reviving the former Fine Arts Festival was to showcase the diversity of Arts United’s membership — 60 non-profit arts organizations. But it is quickly becoming one of the most popular arts, culture and food festivals in the region — last year, officials estimated the crowd surpassed 20,000 patrons for the one-day event.
This year's Taste of the Arts will end the summer season with a one-day event featuring 68 scheduled performances, dozens of local restaurants, random entertainment and more ways to engage the arts than ever.
Taste of the Arts has proven to be an exciting fundraiser too. Arts United provides leadership, essential services and financial support for the regional arts community by raising over a million dollars each year and granting most of it back into the community. Though Taste of the Arts is a free admission event, income is generated for Arts United through food and beverage sales. Those proceeds help fund arts education grants and other community-based arts projects.
There are nearly 70 performances happening during Taste of the Arts 2012, with music, theater, and dance of all styles highlighted during the festivities.
In addition to dance performances representing several cultures, classical ballet, and contemporary dance there will be diverse theatrical offerings with scenes from popular plays. Some of the new additions to this year’s festival include our gold-winning Voices of Unity choir, and a stage dedicated to electronic music in the Museum of Art sculpture garden.
Also, Arts United is once again partnering with the Downtown Improvement District to offer the Busker Stage in Freimann Square. Acts will be on stage throughout the day and street performers (musicians, jugglers, magicians, balloon artists, etc.) are encouraged to setup among the many arts organization booths around the park fountains.
The Art Marketplace will feature its largest group of artists selling a wide array of paintings, photos, pottery, jewelry and handbags. For the first time, artists from outside the Northeast Indiana region will participate.
Taste of the Arts is becoming Fort Wayne’s largest local food sampling event, with over 30 restaurant booths expected to sell small samples of everything from bruschetta to burritos; berry cheesecake to bangers and mash. New restaurants this year include Downtown Deli, Honey on the Table, and Higher Grounds at STAR. Two beer and wine vendors will join Mad Anthony, which has been at the Taste every year: JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House and Baker Street.
Tickets for food and beverages will be $1 each, with most items ranging from 1 to 4 tickets.
Highlights, hands on activities, and free stuff
Artlink will be hosting a Community Art installation called “White to Bright”. Look for a booth that contains a small living room setting painted in white. The public will have the opportunity to purchase .50 cent sheets of bright stickers to be placed anywhere they would like in the white living room. At the end of the community event the living room will look paint-splattered through the use of stickers. The community artists may also leave their name in the “White to Bright” Sign-in Book listing them as an official participant. To complete the project in November 2012 everyone will receive an invitation to the opening exhibit on December 7, 2012 of the White to Bright Installation in Artlink Gallery.
Fort Wayne Youtheatre is hosting a rummage sale and costumes will be available to try on inside the Arts United Center throughout the day. The History Center is open for free during the festival. Cinema Center offers free movies.
To raise awareness to Arts United’s next building campaign for Arts Lab — a proposed black box theatre and arts incubator space — various genres of fine arts will be demonstrated from painters, sculptors, and artists who will create their art as festival patrons watch. This will take place on the Auer Center patio, the future site for the Arts Lab wing.
Decorated wheelbarrows will be displayed and a voter’s choice competition will be held for the best design at the Taste of the Arts. Arts United’s Neighborhood Grant Initiative is sponsoring the World on Wheels (WOW) project with Catherine Kasper Place, a collaborative project to build awareness for the Fresh Food Initiative with immigrants and refugees. The WOW garden project will feature 20 wheelbarrows, each with a unique artistic design based on the theme of world foods and cultures. Afterward, the wheelbarrows will be planted with foods from the country associated with the wheelbarrows and put on display at Parkview Field until the International Blast festival, where they will be displayed and auctioned.
Plus, Different arts organizations with booths setup around Freimann Square will offer a range of hands-on activities.
Dessert — the party after the Taste — has a new sponsor with WBOI 89.1 fm host Julia Meek recording her show Meet the Music during Dessert. WBOI has scheduled a great line-up of headliner bands from 6:00-10:00 pm and more food and beverages will be served. During that same time, Artlink will be having an exhibit opening reception featuring The Final Hurrahs and The Good Ones Clothing Company playing live next door in the Auer Center. Citilink will connect these free concerts with the free Rock the Plaza show at the downtown library plaza and a show at the Dash-In.
Getting there, getting around, etc.
Citilink is offering a Free Fare Day citywide on August 25, so riders can access the festival or take advantage of public transit to go anywhere in the city free all day. In the evening, Citilink will also have its usual free Last Saturday route downtown connecting activities from 4 – 11 pm including Taste of the Arts and other activities planned across downtown. Riders can ride to downtown for free and then get around downtown on the evening shuttle for additional events.
For those who want to enjoy the River Greenway and our amazing trails, it will be easy to bicycle to the Taste of the Arts festival. Fort Wayne Trails will offer free Bike Valet service next to Arts United Center. Bicycles can be safely stored and retrieved without worry of loss or damage with Fort Wayne Trails volunteers on hand.
Sponsors for Taste of the Arts make the event possible. Thanks go to Gold Sponsors: Emley Design Group & Fort Wayne Metals; Silver Sponsors: Downtown Improvement District, Three Rivers Federal Credit Union; Stage Sponsors PHP and Sweetwater Sound; Bronze Sponsors: Huisking Foundation Indiana Michigan Power, Lupke Rice Financial Services, Visit Fort Wayne. Media sponsors: Rider Productions, WBOI 89.1, WMEE 97.3, and WANE-TV15, One Lucky Guitar and Jam Crib.
Saturday, August 25, 2012 Noon-7:00pm
Arts United Campus on Main Street (303 East Main), Downtown Fort Wayne
Meet the Music at Dessert...party after the Taste with Julia Meek until 10 pm