Amplifying local artwork

October 1st, 2018

By Corey McMaken | The Journal Gazette

Three groups are seeking funding for projects in the October cycle of Arts United's crowdfunding program, AmplifyArt.

The window for donations begins Monday and runs through the end of the month.

Each organization will receive a seed investment of $1,000 from Arts United and will have donations from the public matched dollar for dollar up to $1,500 by 3Rivers Federal Credit Union. Donations can be made at

Art This Way

Project: Mural installation

Goal: $5,000

Art This Way hopes to have several public art projects next year, including a mural on the back of the City Center Garage, 840 S. Calhoun St., in the alley between the parking structure and Caliente Cuban Cafe along Wayne Street.

It will measure about 10 feet tall and more than 100 feet wide, according to local artist Alexandra Hall, a member of Art This Way.

AmplifyArt is one of several ways the group is raising money for its 2019 projects. The group recently had a sold-out art crawl downtown.

Hall thinks it will be easier to raise money this year because Art This Way actually has something to show off now that three projects have been completed in the blocks of downtown the group is focused on.

Bryan Ballinger's blue birds mural near the Fort Wayne Visitors Center and Matt Plett's colorful “Breathe” mural near Double Dragon are on the south side of Wayne. On the north side, the Walt Whitman mural completed by Tim Parsley and University of Saint Francis students is in an alley just around the corner from the parking garage project.

A year ago, most people wouldn't have thought about going to an alley downtown to take wedding photos, but now brides are making the murals a must-stop destination for pictures. That is an example of how the projects have been a source of positive energy in the city, Hall says.

“That's the best part, to see people really embrace it,” she says. “To also see the different styles get embraced was really important to us. We curated diverse pieces for that purpose.”

Art This Way is hopeful that a sculptural installation will be possible next year along with additional murals. Its goal is to raise at least $30,000 for 2019, and it won't finalize projects until it knows how much money will be in the budget.A call for artists will go out in November, with results likely announced around April after entries are narrowed down in a blind jury process. The work on the parking garage mural and others will be done as weather permits in the spring and summer.

Fort Wayne Ballet

Project: Fort Wayne Ballet, Too and You!

Goal: $2,000

Fort Wayne Ballet is raising money for “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too,” an annual production that shakes things up by blending the traditional and non-traditional in dance and locations.

For 2019, the production will include a piece featuring music voted on by the public. Choreographer David Ingram will create a new work to that music.

Money raised from the AmplifyArt campaign will give the ballet more flexibility, with resources such as bringing in guest artists to work with the dancers for “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too,” says executive director Jim Sparrow. The campaign will also help get the word out, not only about the production but about the ballet itself.

One of the ballet's struggles is the institutional brand that people have in their heads, Sparrow says. “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too” allows the organization to give the audience something they might not be expecting.

“We're very committed to 'Fort Wayne Ballet, Too,'” he says. “I think it's one of the things we can do to give back to the community. It gives people the opportunity to interface with the ballet in a different way.”

Anything that gets people in the door is a good thing. Sparrow says he is interested in seeing how the ballet's existing patrons become engaged with the Amplify campaign, and also whether it brings in new donors.

The music vote is another way of increasing a level of engagement with the audience of “Fort Wayne Ballet, Too,” which usually draws between 400 and 600 people.

“I think our hope is that they'll be the nucleus and the core of this,” Sparrow says about the regular audience. But the AmplifyArt campaign and the upcoming music vote are “sort of carrots to say, 'Wouldn't you like to be a part of making some decisions as related to the creative process?'”

“Fort Wayne Ballet, Too” is scheduled for May 24. Dates for a vote on the music have not been set.

Arts campus

Project: Barr Street Corridor illumination

Goal: $5,000

The arts campus in partnership with the City of Fort Wayne raising money for a project to animate the Barr Street entrance to the arts campus and Freimann Square with “projected lighting and creative illumination.”

“Innovative lighting will provide a safe and inviting pedestrian-friendly pathway under the railroad elevation, connecting the Arts Campus, restaurants on Superior Street and Headwaters Park,” according to Rachelle Reinking, communications and community relations manager of Arts United.

Arts United unveiled a new logo for the arts campus in August with the hopes of attracting more people to the area of downtown that includes the Arts United Center, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Auer Center for Arts and Culture, History Center and the Hall Community Art Center, where Fort Wayne Dance Collective and Cinema Center operate.

Categories Quality of Life