Aug 13

AUTHOR: SusanMendenhall
CATEGORY: Arts United News
Cultural District
Member Groups
Stories of Impact


2012 Taste of the Arts Grows Into Major Fundraiser


Arts United is pleased to announce an exciting line-up for the fourth annual Taste of the Arts festival.  There are very few festivals in our country that include so many styles of artistic expression. Fort Wayne is absolutely unique for having an event that features theatre, dance, many styles of music, street performers and high-quality visual arts all in one place. Last year, officials estimated the crowd surpassed 20,000 patrons.

The goal for reviving the former Fine Arts Festival was to showcase the diversity of Arts United’s membership- 60 non-profit arts organizations. It is quickly becoming one of the most entertaining arts, culture and food festivals in the region. 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 will be more indoor stages this year growing the event from seven performance areas to nine since last year.  New this year is a stage dedicated to electronic music in the Museum of Art sculpture garden. In addition to dance performances representing several cultures, classical ballet and contemporary dance there will be diverse theatrical offerings with scenes from popular plays.  This will be the first year our gold-winning Voices of Unity choir are able to participate.

Taste of the Arts is becoming the city’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.

Hands-on activities are provided at “The Taste” by different arts organizations with booths setup around Freimann Square. A major focus for Arts United in producing the event is for residents to learn about the wide range of non-profits that make up our arts community. It is not too late to sign up for those arts-related organizations that want a free booth to share information and offer hands-on fun for the crowd.

Back by popular demand to Freimann Square is the Busker stage.  BuskerFest fans will enjoy some random acts as sponsor Downtown Improvement District again transforms Freimann Square into “Busker 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.  Plans are already underway for the 2013 Taste of the Arts Marketplace, as the committee prepares to jury the event next year and open it for national call-out to artists.

There will be other highlights for festival goers.  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.

Other partnerships are in the works for the festival. To bring 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.

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.

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.

Taste of the Arts festival volunteers are busy pulling the final details together to make the event possible for everyone who wants to sample some of Fort Wayne’s culinary, cultural and artistic treasures. Our website is regularly updated. For Taste of the Arts activities:

See you at “THE Taste”!



  • Acme Bar & Grill
  • B. Antonio’s Pizza
  • Baker Street Restaurant
  • Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano
  • Brava’s Dogs
  • Club Soda
  • Cracker Jack Catering – Chef Mike Bentz
  • Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits (CS3)
  • Dawson’s Dogs
  • Downtown Deli & Marketplace
  • Firehouse Cafe
  • Friendly Fox 
  • Granite City Food & Brewery
  • Don Hall’s Gas House
  • Hall’s Takes the Cake
  • Higher Grounds Star
  • Honey on the Table
  • JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House
  • Purple Mountain Cheesecake
  • Qdoba Mexican Grill (Illinois Rd.)
  • Shigs N Pit
  • Smoothie King
  • Stellhorn Subway
  • The Venice Restaurant
  • Waiter on the Way


These restaurants are staying for Dessert until 10 pm:

  • J’aime Manger – Chef Dyeaka Wilson – Dessert
  • Mad Anthony Food & Brewery – Dessert
  • Vanilla Bean Cupcakery – Dessert



Arts United Center

  • University of Saint Francis School of Creative Arts
  • Fort Wayne Ballet
  • Fort Wayne Civic Theatre
  • Amanaceres de Mexico
  • Mon Community Dance Group
  • Towns of Harmony
  • Mikautadze Dance Theatre

Arts United Center Plaza

  • Fort Wayne Dance Collective
  • Carol Lockridge Band
  • Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
  • Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company
  • Voices of Unity Choir
  • Old Crown Brass Band

Museum of Art Atrium

  • Will Certain
  • String Theory
  • Fred Rothert
  • Ted Yoder
  • Ivory West
  • Ricky Kemery

Museum of Art Piazza

  • Pillars of Society
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • Fort Wayne Youtheatre
  • Hope Arthur
  • Pete Lock Band
  • Raq the Rivers
  • SheeKriStyle Dance

Auer Center for Arts & Culture Foyer

  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • The Brat Pack
  • Duane Eby
  • Dani House
  • Cathy Serrano and Michael Patterson
  • Northeast Indiana P.O.E.T.S.
  • The Final Hurrahs (featured at Artlink Gallery opening)

Auer Center for Arts & Culture Courtyard

  • Bender & Warner
  • NerveEight
  • Distractions
  • Fernando Tarango
  • Jesse West

Museum of Art Sculpture Garden

  • Nofi
  • Jeff Green
  • John Shaffer
  • Adejai
  • Josh Elias
  • Joey Fanatic
  • DJ Double J

“Busker Square” (Freimann Square)

  • Chase Huglin
  • Fort Wayne Youtheatre
  • Emily Sederstrom “Lou”
  • Dancin Dons
  • Dick Stoner, Magician
  • dAnce Kontemporary
  • Raq the Rivers Belly Dancers
  • Jake Gillies & Nick Podlaski
  • Jenbe Ensemble
  • Calvary

Dessert (Barr & Berry Street)

  • Selenium
  • Chase Huglin
  • Tune Fancy
  • 77 Times
  • State Line City
  • Sunny Taylor
  • Augustus Berry
  • Chad Elvington
  • Distractions
  • The Elky Summers
  • Left Lane Cruiser


  • Pelka Ceramics
  • Vicki Junk Wright
  • Brittany Tsuleff
  • Yellow Cat Spoon Jewelry
  • Heavenly Gems by Catherine
  • Schoolhouse Stoneware
  • Keepsake Threads
  • Dawn Haney Design
  • Cat’s Creations
  • Allan Longroy
  • Handbags for Healing
  • Stonewares
  • Classic Images Photography
  • Altra Design 2000, Inc.
  • Easter Seals Arc
  • 3R Gallery
  • Julie Stuckey Photography
  • Artenis Di
  • Northside Galleries
  • Terri Huey
  • Michael Hapner
  • Nature of Things Studio
  • Veggiemon Artworks
  • MacLeod Photography
  • Sarahmics
  • Eco Maya International
  • Kent Farnsworth
  • Teach on the Beach
  • Susan Stamm



  • Embassy Theatre
  • FAME
  • Fort Wayne Ballet
  • Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
  • Fort Wayne Civic Theatre
  • Fort Wayne Dance Collective
  • Fort Wayne Youtheatre 1 (Indoors)
  • Fort Wayne Youtheatre 2 (Outdoors)
  • Science Central
  • TekVenture, Inc.
  • Unity Performing Arts Foundation (UPAF)
  • A Renaissance in Roanoke
  • New American Youth Ballet
  • Trinity English Lutheran Church 
  • Fort Wayne Artist Guild
  • FW Philharmonic
  • Arts for Learning, the IN Affiliate of Young Audiences
  • Northeast Indiana P.O.E.T.S.
  • Canterbury School
  • Bach Collegium
  • Heartland chamber Chorale, Inc.
  • Old Crown Brass Band
  • Marian Waltz Friends of the Third World
  • Wunderkammer Company