6th Annual Taste of the Arts

Taste of the Arts logo.

News release from Arts United:

Taste of the Arts continues to expand

School will be in session but summer won’t be over until everyone gets a Taste of the Arts on the downtown arts campus at 300 E Main Street, Fort Wayne. This dynamic regional festival caps off summer events on Saturday, August 23 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free.

Always the weekend before Labor Day, the event has grown rapidly into one of downtown Fort Wayne’s largest single-day festivals. The sixth annual Taste of the Arts brings together more than 25,000 visitors and 650 volunteers, participants and performers for fine arts, crafts, theatre, dance, music, film, culture, history, and food. It’s a family-friendly showcase of local talent and a chance to participate in a wide variety of engaging and entertaining activities.

Arts United develops, coordinates and supports arts and cultural efforts in Northeast Indiana by connecting cultural groups from across a 12-county region and providing them with leadership funding, facilities, and business support. Taste of the Arts exemplifies the power of cooperation by showcasing Northeast Indiana’s tremendous talent during this one-day arts extravaganza.


New this year: PNC is Matching Donations
Admission to Taste of the Arts is free, and the festival is accessible to all participants. Proceeds from donations, sponsorships, and food sales help keep the event free and provide funding for artistic programming throughout the year. Anyone can join the “Friends of the Taste by making a tax-deductible contribution to Arts United. Donors who give $50 or more receive special privileges including access to the PNC Cool Zone in the Ian Rolland Gallery of the Arts United Center, coupons for food tickets, and VIP parking. For the first time, PNC is matching “Friends of the Taste” donations to help Arts United build sustainable support for this regional festival and fuel arts and cultural programming throughout the year. Contributions may be made online.


Artslab raises the bar to 10 stages
Taste of the Arts stretches to ten performance areas by adding a new stage in Artslab, the black box theatre which opened in January 2014 in the Auer Center for Arts & Culture, 300 E. Main St. The $1.6 million addition to the Auer Center is flexible and offers an intimate experience for both the audience and performers.


FortArtisan Fine Arts Fair
Check out FortArtisan at Taste of the Arts this year. Fort Artisan is juried art fair organized by Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery and includes artists and crafters who produce innovative, original items using traditional methods. This celebration of contemporary craft features modern handmade goods. Artists accepted into FortArtisan include: Elizabeth Balzer, Linnea Bartling, Laura Brandenburg, Matt Breunig, Mackenzie Brockhaus, Melissa Eager, Patricia Eykholt, Justine Hettler, Rebecca Graves-Sweinhagen, Alexandra Hall, Karen Layman, John Margerum, Jason McCall, Joseph Pelka, Rick Reiff, Linda K Sheets, Sarah Thompson, Leigha Vande Zande, Julie Wall Toles, David Webb, and Janet R Webb.


YLNI Barr Street Market
In addition to FortArtisan, more local artists will sell their works at the YLNI Barr Street Market near The History Center. Now celebrating its 10th season, the YLNI Barr Street Market will offer extended hours during Taste of the Arts. Musicians, artists and some vendors entertainment and shopping opportunities until 5 p.m.


Hands on Activities at Busker Square
Dancers, magicians, and music, OH MY! Organized and sponsored by the Downtown Improvement District, Busker Square returns to Taste of the Arts this year to celebrate the street performer! Busker Square will allow you to enjoy the fun, exciting, and unpredictable nature of Buskers as they roam the area displaying their talents. Be on the lookout all day for fun artists like The Harp Condition, Robot Girl, Hindered Folk , and more! In addition to these fabulous acts, Busker Square will feature tarot reading, face painting, and balloon animals throughout the day.

Buskers will mix and mingle among forty activity-rich booths around Freimann Square. Taste of the Arts was founded with a goal of helping residents connect with local arts organizations. The festival provides a fun and easy way to get involved in the arts through kid-friendly, hands-on activities and opportunities to learn more about local cultural programs. Random acts and performers will mix and mingle among forty booths around Freimann Square. – More information


Participating organizations include:

  • All for One productions
  • Appleseed Comics and Art Convention
  • ARCH
  • Carson’s Department Store
  • Downtown Improvement District
  • Embassy Theatre
  • FAME
  • Fort Wayne Artists Guild
  • Fort Wayne Ballet
  • Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
  • Fort Wayne Civic Theatre
  • Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Fort Wayne Dance Collective
  • Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes & Drums
  • Fort Wayne Youtheatre
  • Friends of the Phil
  • Friends of the Third World
  • Heartland Chamber Chorale
  • IPFW Community Arts Academy
  • Miss Fort Wayne Scholarship Program
  • Musical Arts at Trinity Episcopal Church
  • New American Youth Ballet
  • Noble Co. Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Northeast Indiana POETS
  • Old Crown Brass Band
  • Painting with a Twist
  • Roanoke Arts Council
  • Science Central
  • Sweetwater
  • TekVenture, Inc.
  • The Bach Collegium
  • The History Center
  • Trinity English Lutheran Church
  • University of St. Francis
  • Visit Fort Wayne
  • Wine & Canvas
  • Wunderkammer Company
  • Xfinity


Bike Valet
An increasing number of people ride their bicycles to Taste of the Arts. Last year, volunteers from Fort Wayne Trails counted over 200 bicycles in their Bike Valet parking area. They will offer Bike Valet service for the festival again this year by Freimann Square.


Museums and attractions on the Arts Campus including Artlink, the History Center, and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art will offer free general admission. Artlink will be featuring The Members’ Show — Artlink’s annual exhibit featuring one piece each from artist members in the Sauerteig Family and Mirro Family Foundation Galleries. This is a media exhibit featuring a large quantity of fantastic work!

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art will host two performance areas and a special exhibit with local sound and visual artist Michael Rhodes. Museum exhibitions include abstract artist Donald Martiny: Freeing the Gesture, photographs of gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson in Al Satterwhite: Fear and Loathing on Cozumel and Sculptures by Robert Pulley. Entrance to the special exhibitions, including the 42nd Annual International Glass Invitational Award Winners and Peter Bremers: Inward Journey, are available for an additional $5.

The History Center will also have free admission and an old jail cell photo booth set outside for festival selfies. The jail cell will be located near the Barr Street Market and Dessert stage. – More information


Cinema Center
Cinema Center will show several movies in their theatre at the Hall Community Art Center Films including Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD, a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Rated R, BOYHOOD was filmed over 12 years with the same cast.


Festival Fan Fare Warehouse
Patrons can purchase Taste of the Arts t-shirts, carry bags, sunglasses, and albums from local musicians at the Fan Fare Warehouse in front of the Arts United Center box office.


Food Vendors
It wouldn’t be Taste of the Arts without the culinary talents local chefs and restaurants. Some of these food vendors will leave as the daytime activity of Taste of the Arts winds down at 7 p.m. About twelve restaurants will stay for the night shift, known by Taste aficionados as Dessert. The list of participating restaurants is still growing and currently includes:

  • B Antonio’s
  • Baker Street
  • Banh Mi
  • Club Soda
  • Crackerjack Catering
  • CS3
  • Friendly Fox
  • Granite City
  • Green Bean Delivery
  • JK O’Donnell’s Irish Pub
  • Kona Ice
  • Mad Anthony
  • Main Street Bistro
  • Naked Tchopstix Food Truck
  • O’Reilly’s Irish Pub
  • Palmetto Poppers
  • Purple Mountain Cheesecake
  • Qdoba
  • Shigs in Pit
  • Subway
  • Sweets So Geek
  • The Venice
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Waiter on the Way



WBOI Dessert Stage

For the past two years, WBOI, the local public radio station, has recorded “Meet the Music” live with radio host Julia Meek during Taste of the Arts. A great success, the evening concert will again be recorded with popular and purposely diverse acts from the Fort Wayne region. The show will be broadcast on the radio later in the fall.

6p: Ken Jehle & Fernando Tarango. Each of them masters in their own field, Ken’s classical guitar meets Fernando’s savvy pop vocal for an amazingly diverse & entertaining sound.

7p: Shelly Dixon & Jeff McRae. Acoustic rock duo divine! Shelly Dixon & Jeff McRae are veterans of the Fort Wayne music scene. Each has served time in successful rock and country/rock bands over the past decade, but they were recently liberated to pursue the more pure and demanding – yet more satisfying – acoustic sound.

8p: The Wickersham Brothers. Fronted by Fernando Tarango, the Wickersham Bros. boasts an eclectic combination of Americana Roots, Jazz, Rock and Funk that is always as danceable as it is entertaining.

9p: Breaking Tradition, a young, up and coming, brother /sister, country band from northeast Indiana. The band has a strong emphasis on vocals with two and three part harmonies. They rock everything from classic tunes to the latest hits with a few surprises in between. Inspired by country and southern rock music, their song selection and sound represents a mixture of individual styles with a shared passion for country music.


Evening Activities at the Arts United Center Plaza, ArtsLab at the Auer Center and Fort Wayne Museum of Art
The party continues with Dessert at 7 p.m. after the daytime stages, Busker Square, and some food vendors close down. Furthering last year’s expansion of activities into the evening, Dessert takes the event into the night with live music, theatrical performances, and an outdoor film screening. About twelve food and beverage vendors will stay open. Highlights include:

7 p.m.: Caleb Herber will perform in the Auer Center, Josh Ogle and Lydia Tremaine will perform in Artslab, Fort Wayne Summer Theatre performs in the MoA auditorium

7:30 p.m. Dance Tonight will lead the crowd with a ballroom dance showcase and lessons for audience participation followed at dusk by local fire dance troop “Pyroscope” at the Arts United Center Plaza.

10 p.m. Outdoor Movie: Cinema Center will provide a screening of The Sandlot, a free outdoor movie. Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs for comfort. About The Sandlot: Scotty Smalls is the new kid in town and all he wants is to make friends before summer. During the summer he gets neighborhood boys into a huge pickle when he hits a baseball signed by Babe Ruth into the “Beast’s” backyard where nobody has ever gone over the fence for fear of being eaten. The classic family movie from 1993 is free, rated PG and is sponsored by Shaffer Media.


Festival sponsors make it happen

New sponsors are supporting Taste of the Arts this year, along with a few who have loyally supported the festival since its inception. These sponsors include: PNC, BAE Systems, Fort Wayne Metals, Emley Design Group, Sweetwater, Carsons, Current Mechanical, Xfinity, PHP, Downtown Improvement District, Indiana Michigan Power, Aalco Distributors, Shaffer Media, WMEE. Without sponsors, Arts United could not build the infrastructure that makes the event a success.


Stage schedules and participating groups may be subject to change. For updates on the line-up of acts, to sign-up as a volunteer or artist, or for more information about Taste of the Arts go online to https://artsunited.org/taste/.

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