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Feb 15

Art & You: Victoria Gardner

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Victoria Gardner first got involved in our art community when she became an intern for Arts United in high school. This internship exposed Victoria to the operations side of theatre production—from stage managing to technical theatre to, of course, scene production.

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Victoria is currently the Scenic Artist at the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre. She first got involved with the Civic during her internship with Arts United, where she would help with Civic and Youtheatre projects whenever she had extra downtime. At the suggestion of her supervisor at Arts United Miriam Morgan, she began to explore scenic art as a career path (originally most interested in photography). After her internship at Arts United ended, she continued to spend time volunteering with the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre and attended the University of Saint Francis to obtain her BFA in Painting.

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Today, as Civic’s Scenic Artist, Victoria creates the world that the Civic Theatre productions take place in on stage. “I love what I do because I get to help create something big that many people throughout our town will be able to enjoy. I am so lucky because I get to help create a whole world in the Scene Shop and on the stage for our audience to get lost in. I also really enjoy being able to help and teach our volunteers new things in the shop, and how I get to learn from them as well, even if it is not related to theatre.”

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“My favorite part of the whole process is when I finish a backdrop because it gives me a great amount of accomplishment to complete something so big, as the backdrops are 24ft tall and 48ft wide.”

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“Although it is somewhat cliché, art is important because it is different and beautiful. It is not something everyone gets create all the time, but it is something we all can enjoy together. Art also makes us unique. The art here in Fort Wayne makes us stand apart from other cities just as their art makes them stand apart from us.”

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Oct 20

Art & You: Shakespearemachine

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For most people, hearing “Shakespeare” brings flashbacks to their high school nightmares. Shakespearemachine, led by Nick Tash and Halee Shutt, challenges that reaction through innovative, experimental productions.

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

Nick and Halee started Shakespearemachine just in 2015 hoping to bring a unique experience to audience members. “Halee and I noticed that there was starting to be an upswing in the creative community in Fort Wayne,” said Nick, “the scale and type of events offer[ed] was changing and involvement/interest from the community [was increasing]. This was the impetus for the creation of the company in the first place. And I had always harbored the suspicion that Fort Wayne audiences were looking to something in addition to the normal fare that was offered in Fort Wayne theatre.”

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

Shakespearmachine is a new theatre company dedicated to exploring the complete works of William Shakespeare through the use of masks and unusual audience-performer relationships. This type of performance is known as physical theatre, which rather than simply reflecting the action on stage as presented in the text, you “attempt to put into physical terms the subterranean undercurrents of the text. So, in that case, the stage is more poetic. It doesn’t always reflect a simple reality,” explained Nick.

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

As it pertains to Shakespeare, Halee said, “Shakespeare wrote in a language that is larger than life, and has so much emotion and scale literally within the text. However, modern acting styles tend more toward strict realism, which can sometimes tend to make actors disengage from their body. Everything becomes intellectual, not visceral. This is when Shakespeare gets deadly, because performing Shakespeare is, to me, about finding that perfect balance between the beautiful, intellectual wordplay and the guttural, instinctual, large emotional life of his characters. Thus, it is our theory that taking a more physical theatre approach to his work helps find that balance, making the material more engaging for performers and audience members alike.”

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

Nick says the role that masks play in this is that it challenges actors to live up to Shakespearean expectations. “It enlarges them, makes them bigger than life, which is what a Shakespearean character is. Shakespeare is not naturalism. Shakespeare’s language is heightened, and the actor’s body needs to be heightened too. I think the idea is that it will help bring the actor’s physicality up to the heights of the language. The mask takes away the face, the main organ of expression for an actor, and forces them to act with their whole body, calling into service every little piece of their body to express themselves. We are definitely still experimenting with the process, though, and results may vary. It’s ongoing thing.”

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

Now more than ever, people are looking for entry points to enjoying arts and culture. The desire for diverse, creative experiences regardless of their background or experience. Halee agrees, saying that Shakespearmachine’s approach to theatre aims to heighten accessibility to classical art through contemporary Shakespeare interpretations while retaining what makes it a true Shakespearean play. “Too often, especially with classical work in any field, many people (especially younger people) find the art difficult to relate to, engage with, and understand. Our goal is to break down that barrier and present a work of theatre that empowers our audience to enjoy these works, and to realize they are still relevant in today’s society.” Nick added “For us, it’s an effort to try to get people to see theatre as a viable option for entertainment, even people who would normally think that theatre isn’t really for them. We want to try to get people to see themselves in these stories, and realize that they are still speaking to them.”

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

Shakespearemachine’s latest production, Coriolanus, opens in the Parkview Physicians Group ArtsLab on Friday, October 21 at 8 PM and runs through Saturday, October 29. Find more show times and purchase tickets, and learn more about Shakespearemachine by visiting their website!

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Shakespearemachine’s “Coriolanus”

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Mar 30

Art & You: Alexandra Hall

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Every arts organization, community, project, etc. has one commonality at its core: the artist. This person creates out of self-expression; this person creates to unite others. This creation enriches our human experience—it tells our stories and gives us deeper understandings of ourselves and the world we live in.

But artists aren’t just artists anymore; they’ve made a full-fledged transition into what we like to call the “rise of the creative entrepreneur.” They’re developing and running businesses based on their artistic callings.  No matter what level of high-performance a community achieves, we can’t forget about the core—the artist. And a whopping 18,834 workers are employed in the creative sector in Northeast Indiana (4.5% of all Northeast Indiana jobs). Of this group, 7,031 are self-employed workers (8.6% of all Northeast Indiana self-employed workers). The individual artist is a key component in any arts community, and just as important to an artist’s presence in a community is their viability to make a living off of their work.

FWA EXHIBITION 2016Local artist Alexandra Hall lives the importance of supporting our creative entrepreneurs so that they stay in our community and continue to lend to the vibrancy that is so important to quality of place.

Alex owns her own gallery located in the city exchange shops. You may be familiar with her fun and bright work, inspired by the mundane, the absurd, human nature, often displayed in other local galleries such as Artlink Contemporary Gallery and Jennifer Ford Art or at the annual Taste of the Arts Festival.

As northeast Indiana makes significant strides in staking its claim as a national destination for arts and culture, Alex foresees success in the visual arts as murals as statues throughout the city, a profitable gallery district, comprehensive and dynamic art courses for children and adults offered through numerous organizations, and, most importantly, homes filled with locally made artwork so that working artists can in fact live off of their work without the need for additional sources of income. Viability in arts and culture in our community begins at the individual level, allowing oneself to create, experience and partake in the stories told through the various forms of art.

Alex believes that projects such as a downtown co-op artists community with living/working spaces, where artists can buy and own a gallery space and sell directly to buyers, would both  increase collaboration and growth among artists while simultaneously bringing the general community closer to the creation.

Alexandra Hall_Portrait Copyright 2016 Alexndra Hall (1)Alex is currently working on a community mural project that she says could be the beginning of a larger downtown mural walk, which involves partnerships between local business owners and artists to continue to develop an attractive and vibrant city. “Projects like these help prevent the creative brain drain and stagnation that so many communities experience.”

At any level, art is impactful. It creates connections and opportunities for the entire community. Supporting our artists is an integral part of continuing our momentum in the entire city. Alex defends, “While the local community has been supportive, the movement to buy local pieces and support local arts is still in its infancy here.”

“There is often a disconnect between the arts and the significant effect art has on society. Not only does art help us to define and express our culture, it also paves way for conversation, original thought, innovation and growth. Where there is a strong arts community there is a stronger economy and a more innovative population. The value of art to a community isn’t quantifiable; it is priceless.”

You can support your local economy by purchasing artwork at places like Artlink and Jennifer Ford Art or in Alex’s gallery, but you can also purchase local artwork at Fort Wayne Museum of Art’s Paradigm Gallery, Wunderkammer Company, Hedgehog Press, or even on the walls of some of your favorite restaurants and coffee shops like Fortezza Coffee and Dash-In.

 

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Feb 12

Art & You

Click here to read stories of impact in our community.

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Sep 25

Amplify Art!

Click here to support local Amplify Art! Projects

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Jun 30

July 14 at 3:30pm and July 15 at 8:00am at Parkview Physicians Group ArtsLab

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Jun 15

Northeast Indiana Quality of Life Survey

NE Indiana Quality of Life survey feature + slideshow

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Sep 19

Your gift supports more than 70 arts and cultural organizations in northeast Indiana. Give today!

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Jul 31

Last Saturdays

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Jul 02

Last Saturdays

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