Mandie Kolkman has been a part of our Fort Wayne community for 3 years, and her passion for the local art scene has us inspired. Mandie was first introduced to the art community in Fort Wayne through her internship with Fort Wayne Ballet. She was instantly hooked. Since then, she’s been teaching, subbing, and volunteering for the Fort Wayne Ballet, and her degree in Dance and Arts Administration has led her to careers with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective and the Philmore on Broadway. Her position as Event Director with the Philmore on Broadway gives her the opportunity to work with musicians and other performing artists, as does her involvement with dAnce Kontemporary, and their collaborations with Wunderkammer Co. and the Philharmonic. All this to say, Mandie knows her way around the local art scene.
Her involvement in the arts has allowed her to meet many artists in our community and make many friends who are passionate about their art. Mandie wanted a way to share their stories and their talents with the rest of the community, and she wanted everyone in the greater Fort Wayne area to get to know the talent we have here.
These goals gave her the idea to launch Art to Heart, a podcast showcasing local artists and their art, and encouraging listeners to tap into their own creative minds. Mandie has high hopes for Art to Heart, which launched in September. “I am hoping more artists will emerge in our community as a bi-product of listening to my podcast,” she says. “Hearing the stories of fellow artists may have the power to urge aspiring creatives to get out there and do what they love.” The podcast is great for artists and non-artists alike. It’s fun to hear the stories and the hearts of the people producing such amazing work locally, and listeners always walk away encouraged to pursue their passions, whatever those passions may be.
Mandie’s passion for art extends beyond the art and artists themselves, but on bettering the community. “Art is what unifies a community and spurs creative thought, therefore art is a vital part of the growth of Fort Wayne. The creative thought process is what helps both progress and growth. Art attracts creative minds and is an integral part of what drives young people to want to stay in an area.”
This is important. With Northeast Indiana recently receiving $42 million from the Regional Cities Initiative, and Fort Wayne being named one of the top up-and-coming cities for college graduates, our focus on art is going to be more important now than ever before. For those who aren’t yet involved in the local art scene, Mandie says community growth adds extra incentive for you to get involved. “My generation wants activities for their children to one day be involved in. They also want to see, feel, and experience art as part of their social life. I encourage you to go support your community’s growth through an artistic experience. You may not like all art forms, but you are bound to find something you enjoy.”
Mandie’s advice to local artists during this important time in our city’s artistic growth? Collaborate. Exposure is the best way to promote your art, and collaboration is one of the best ways to gain exposure. The collaborative nature of her podcast is one of the beautiful things about her mission. Her belief is that when artists collaborate they share followers and have the opportunity to mutually promote those who they think are talented. Everyone wins, including the community.
Speaking of collaboration, she’d like to thank Metavari for the use of “See Again” in her podcast and thank the owners of The Philmore on Broadway for letting her use the historic venue to record most of the episodes. Together, we are going to see great things happen in Fort Wayne.
Art to Heart comes out every other Friday and can be downloaded at http://arttoheart.buzzsprout.com/. You can also subscribe on iTunes.