Arts and Culture
Northeast Indiana is a region that showcases the creativity and talents of many different walks of life. That’s what makes our region one of the best places to live in the country.
Arts, culture, and diversity thrive here, and you can too.
If you’re looking for a glimpse at life in the region, here’s a short list of ways we celebrate the arts-and-culture scene in Northeast Indiana.
Eleven Ways Northeast Indiana Celebrates the Arts
1. We’re a destination for arts and culture.
The vibrant arts-and-culture scene in Northeast Indiana fills calendars quickly. The Northeast Indiana arts community is creating an arts-centric region that will advance quality of life and cultural growth. From galleries and museums, like the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, to exhibits and hands-on workshops, you’ll find the creative outlet you need to balance the workday routine.
2. We have a campus dedicated to arts and a district rich with culture.
Established in 1955, Arts United is the third-oldest nonprofit united arts fund in the United States and the second-largest arts council in Indiana. Arts United’s mission is to develop, coordinate, and support arts and cultural efforts in Northeast Indiana. On the Arts Campus in downtown Fort Wayne is the Arts United’s Auer Center for Arts & Culture, where you’ll find the Fort Wayne Ballet, the Artlink Art Gallery, FAME, the Parkview Physician’s Group ArtsLab theater, and administrative offices for Fort Wayne Trails and Arts United. The building also houses a public lobby and a cafe. This Arts Campus is just one part of the downtown Fort Wayne Cultural District.
3. We celebrate our diversity.
In Northeast Indiana, we believe in celebrating the diversity that makes our community richer. For example, Fort Wayne, located in the heart of Northeast Indiana, is home to one of the largest populations of Burmese residents in the nation. The cultural influences are found throughout our regional art scene, and we host a number of annual events designed to showcase Burmese culture through dance and art. And that’s just one example. From traditional Japanese folk dancing to Taiko drums, the Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates all things Japanese, and has for more than 10 years. There’s also Germanfest, Greek Fest, Arab Fest, and the International Village at the Three Rivers Festival.
4. Art is a part of our history.
If you’re an artist looking to make an impact on the art scene, Northeast Indiana is a place you can blossom. Art is our past, our present, and our future. Many renowned artists got their start here. In Adams County, the Decatur Sculpture Tour celebrates public art and the charming city’s history as the birthplace and boyhood home of David Smith, abstract expressionist sculptor and painter widely heralded as the greatest American sculptor of the 20th century for his large steel abstract geometric sculptures.
5. Street art adds color and vibrancy to our regional downtowns.
No matter which downtown, no matter which sidewalk, when you walk around our regional downtowns, art abounds. Sculptures seem to dance, and vivid murals painted by local artists on old brick buildings add instant interest. One can’t-miss event, Sculptures on the Square in downtown Auburn, features everything from hand-painted wall murals to public artwork made of recycled plastic material.
6. We love art, especially on Fridays.
There’s something special about Fridays. The workweek is over, and it’s time to celebrate a weekend full of opportunity. In Northeast Indiana, there are a lot of choices for fun on a Friday night. If you’re in Wabash and it’s the first Friday of the month, it’s time for First Friday. First Friday celebrates the vibrant arts and music scene in downtown Wabash. Stroll the streets, listening to live music and touring local art galleries, venues, studios, and museums.
7. Amish culture adds a rural flair.
Part of life in Northeast Indiana is seeing a horse and buggy trotting down the road. This is Amish country. In LaGrange County, Amish life brings great diversity to the arts-and-culture scene in the region. The Amish community’s handcrafted arts and crafts include everything from furniture to custom artwork.
8. Art pops up on every corner.
Pop-up boutiques. Spontaneous live art demonstrations. Downtown art tours. Impromptu galleries in vacant buildings. Art is around every corner in Northeast Indiana. The more informal, the better. Art can be celebrated outside the museum, and that’s what our pop-up-art scene is all about.
9. Art is big business.
Our region embraces its history of creative entrepreneurship. Businesses, including Vera Bradley, Mudlove, and Matilda Jane, started in Northeast Indiana. This is good soil for creatives.
10. Craftsmanship flourishes with handmade products.
We like to make things. From Amish furniture to sculptures and animation to environments, we are a community of doers. We build things that last, and we build them with our hands. Take for example, our Sculpture with a Purpose and our hand-painted park benches. We have the courage to think outside of the box and to create something that matters.
11. The creative juices are flowing in the region, and you can influence this progress.
In Northeast Indiana, we live out our values every day. We keep things simple, treat people with respect, and help our neighbor. That’s how we’ve always done it. Transplants from larger cities often comment about how easy it is to find a fit in our midsize community. The same can be said about joining the arts-and-culture scene here. Wunderkammer Company regularly encourages exhibitions featuring new and emerging artists while Jennifer Ford Art urges new-to-town artists to submit artwork to introduce artists to the growing creative community. Plant yourself in the region, and get ready for a Hoosier welcome.