The local art scene is alive, and it has a pulse. Fort Wayne HeART of the City is an artist-run initiative that collectively supports artists of all types, mediums, and skill levels in the greater Northeast Indiana area. The group hosts its first event at the Three Rivers Festival on July 8th and 9th in the Freimann Square parking lot, where festival-goers can check out an assortment local art, music, and food. To learn more about Fort Wayne HeART of the City and their upcoming event, I spoke with Daniel Church and Tricia Cavender, two of the founding artists who are involved with coordinating events and operations.
It all started when group of artist friends wanted to bring attention to other local artists. However, they noticed a divide in the community. “From what I’ve experienced in the local art scene here in Fort Wayne, there is a great disconnect. The established artists and galleries are on one end of the spectrum and the newer unestablished artists are on the other. I would love to see those two worlds come together and learn from each other,” said Tricia. To bridge that gap, Fort Wayne HeART of the City was born. Local artists are supporting other local artists through new events and an online database.
Emerging into the art scene can be daunting. Often, newer artists don’t know where to start, and there aren’t many opportunities to showcase their work. To resolve this issue, HeART of the City is connecting established artists with new artists. “We want to help them learn how to better promote their work and give them events that will provide opportunities for them to show their work,” Tricia said. “We want to make some super fun events without the pressure of meeting juried requirements and booth approval. We want artists to be able to be themselves and show the art the way they choose to in a creative and free way. I think that is what makes HeART of the City special.” The group also offers ways for artists to promote themselves online. Their website hosts a calendar of art events and maintains a local artist directory, where anyone can submit examples of their work and links to their social media and websites. “It’s a hub for local artists to support local artists and a way to connect with each other and our community,” said Daniel. “Due to information overload, things can get lost in the mix, and you don’t even know what’s in your own backyard.”
Though this weekend is their first event, HeART of the City is already seeing their efforts pay off. Tricia said, “I love how art is so embraced here in Fort Wayne. I think HeART of the City will play a role in advancing the future of art culture in this town. We are already seeing artists who were once intimidated to show their work that are now participating in the upcoming HeART of the City at the Three Rivers Festival. It’s so encouraging to see that and spurs us forward to work even harder at helping local artists succeed.” So, what can we expect next from HeART of the City? Daniel said, “We see bigger connections with the community, art shows, pow wows, ‘classes’, and anything else we can think of. There hasn’t been anything like this before, so we hope to do it all!”
Fort Wayne HeART of the City hosts its first event at the Three Rivers Festival on Saturday, July 8th from 11am–5pm and Sunday, July 9th from 10am–5pm in the Freimann Square parking lot. Buy some local art, hear tunes from local musicians, and grab some local food while you’re at it. More details on their event page. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram, and check out their website for other upcoming events and information on the local arts community.