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.
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.
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: www.TasteoftheArtsFortWayne.org.
See you at “THE Taste”!