The HEDGE: Julie Wall Interview
Mar15

The HEDGE: Julie Wall Interview

I have been a fan of Julie Wall, 31, for years now. She was born and raised in Fort Wayne and is the embodiment of a strong individual that is kind, direct, and a true believer in the entrepreneurial spirit. She started her own business, The HEDGE, in 2013. This place is where she has created a solid reputation with locals while feeding her creative spirit. I stopped by her new location at 1016 Broadway in downtown Fort Wayne (open from 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday) to chat and see how the new location is treating her. She spent a great deal of time rehabbing the building, and I was eager to see the new space.   I asked her why she selected downtown, and she told me that “If I was ever going to do it, the time was now.” She went on to talk about the new energy happening in our urban core. “The timing is right. It’s so great being downtown. I love seeing people out and about for leisurely purposes. Being open on Saturdays for the hustle and bustle is fun. People are on the streets with their Shop Small bags as compared to five years ago when it was a ghost town down here.”   She offers a wide range of services including custom printing, design, foiling, letterpress, debossing, edge painting, invitations, calligraphy, event signage, engraving, sublimation, fine art, murals, curation, workshops, printing demos, creative consulting, and more. She is heavily involved in the process from beginning to end with her clients and customers. She has been active in everything from weddings and parties to funerals and fundraisers. “People come in with an idea and we figure it out together,” Julie told me with enthusiasm.   When I asked her why she does this, she didn’t hesitate with her answer. “I’ve grown up in a small family business, so I knew I would own my own business someday, too. It’s in my blood. It allows me to be creative every single day. It gives me the chance to disconnect from my own art in a good way, too. Owning your own business is empowering, but being self-employed really never ends. There is only so much time in a day.”   Check out the spring workshops at The HEDGE on the website. Join them on March 25 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. for an open house printing workshop, and an art opening with new work by Daniel Dienelt and Julie. There will be PBR on the house, and delicious cupcakes from Zinnia’s Bakehouse. Make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so you don’t miss any updates!...

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Fort Wayne New Year’s Eve Ball Drop
Dec05

Fort Wayne New Year’s Eve Ball Drop

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, I am not the kind of guy that likes to stay home, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch trying not to fall asleep before midnight. New Year’s Eve has always been this perfect culmination of looking back on the hard work of the year and ushering in hopes and dreams for next year with my closest friends. I’ve celebrated New Year’s Eve in numerous cities close to Fort Wayne from Chicago to Louisville to Cincinnati. Sadly, I have always had to leave town to really find somewhere that I felt could provide me with the opportunity to let loose and enjoy myself. This year, a new event called the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop is hoping to change that. The event will take place at the Barrett McNagny Parking Lot at 215 E. Berry Street behind Main Street Bistro in the heart of Downtown Fort Wayne. There will be a countdown featuring a gigantic Fort Wayne inspired LED Tower, and a dazzling fireworks display at midnight. This event is free and family-friendly. Doors open at 7 p.m. and live entertainment will begin at 7:15 p.m. on the countdown stage. The ball will drop at midnight kicking off the beginning of 2017. Don’t miss the chance to be there for the start of something new in Fort Wayne! If you are looking for something fun to do or want to save on the cost of travel during NYE, this might be the event you have been looking for. Main Street Bistro will also have its own event next door with tickets available for purchase online. Start making your plans now and find out all the details at fwballdrop.com. Most importantly, don’t forget to get an Uber for the drive...

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Taste of the Arts: Two Day Festival
Aug24

Taste of the Arts: Two Day Festival

Taste of the Arts is back and better than ever for the 2016 season. With not one but two days to hang out on Main Street in Downtown Fort Wayne, this is a celebration for every person and every age. Tens of thousands of people partake in Taste of the Arts each year. Brought to you by Arts United, this event is located right in the midst of their downtown art campus at 300 E. Main Street. The festival itself is free and tickets are available to enjoy delicious food from a large amount of local vendors that look forward to this each year. Everything kicks off on Friday, August 26 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., and then continues on Saturday, August 27 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Enjoy music, food, and more including the YLNI Farmer’s Market on Barr Street, performances by dAnce.Kontemporary, Fort Wayne Ballet, and Pyroscope, a movie night with Living Fort Wayne, and a day of street performance fun from the Downtown Improvement District’s BuskerSquare (the sister to their annual BuskerFest event). There will also be mile runs, KidsARTivities, and unique events at Artlink. If I could give you one piece of advice it would be to come hungry and don’t hold back. Some of my favorite food items are found each year at Taste of the Arts. With unique food portions available from different vendors it’s the perfect opportunity to sample everything without having to choose just one place. I highly recommend the Meatloaf Cupcakes from Waiter on the Way and those awesome sliders from Shigs In Pit! This weekend we are expecting sunny skies and warm temperatures. Bring your friends and kids for an event you won’t forget (or you can help volunteer). There really is something for everyone, and with two days to explore all that Taste of the Arts has to offer, this is something you are going to be coming back to for many years in the future. Make sure to share your photos on social media as you enjoy the fun with hashtag...

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Botanical Roots Outdoor Concert Series
Aug19

Botanical Roots Outdoor Concert Series

One of Fort Wayne’s best kept summer secrets is definitely the Botanical Roots Outdoor Concert Series. However, based on recent attendance numbers, word is definitely getting out. The concert series runs every Friday evening this summer until September 2. With three final shows this year, there is still time to enjoy a night out with your friends and family. I’ve been to more than one show this summer, and it’s a breath of fresh air. Each Friday has included great weather, cold drinks, welcoming smiles, and music that will make you want to do more than tap your feet. The concert series feels like something out of a story book. With beautiful music filling in the spaces between greenery and wild flowers, this is a great place to wind down after a long week. In the outdoor area of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory at 1100 South Calhoun Street, enjoy the start of the weekend under a perfect sky. Each Friday offers a new musical style with a new artist. Don’t miss Gangstagrass (Bluegrass/Hip-Hop) on August 19, John Primer (Blues) on August 26, and Zion Lion (Reggae) on September 2. Find out more information on their digital flyer. Everyone in the community is welcome! Don’t forget to bring a lawn chair or blanket. Food and beverage are available for purchase from Mad Anthony Brewing; no outside food or beverage is allowed. Admission is $6 at the gate. Ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent or guardian. Gates open at at 7:30 p.m. and the shows start at 8:30 p.m., rain or...

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Fort Wayne Artist Shines Bright: Thomas Leffers
Jul11

Fort Wayne Artist Shines Bright: Thomas Leffers

I first met Tom a few months ago in Downtown Fort Wayne. It wasn’t long before I was made aware of his talents on the canvas. His name started popping up in conversations, in my newsfeed online, and at local social gatherings. I attended his recent art gallery that Terry Ratliff held for him in June, and the event was packed. His talents are noticeable right away. With a focus on abstract art, his subject matter stirs emotion with how color is moved brilliantly across a large canvas. Everyone sees something different in his work, but there is no denying that it sparks emotion. Tom was born in 1991 and grew up in a Catholic family in the 46805 neighborhood of State Street. He opened up to me about his struggles with depression and anxiety when he was younger. He realized that the only way he got through the day was by drawing and creating art. Instead of stress, it gave him peace of mind. Tom said, “With the help of teachers, especially Marcy Adams from Bishop Dwenger, I learned how to oil paint.” After high school, Tom enrolled at the University of Saint Francis because of the art program that was offered. “While at Saint Francis, they focused a lot on realism and drawing and painting from life. It wasn’t until my senior year that I got into abstract art. I had an outside influence from a teacher not from Fort Wayne that impacted the direction I took with my art. I would call that a focus in color, texture, and how people respond to the nature of art with an overload of color and shape. It’s the opposite of realism. I’m trying to overload all your senses with the color and direction that the paint is moving.” When I asked Tom why he has stayed in Fort Wayne, he was quick to answer. “I stayed in Fort Wayne because most of the kids I went to high school with left town as soon as they could. Everyone told me I had to leave Fort Wayne to be a successful artist because the main avenues for art are elsewhere. I want to change that process by getting my art out across the country and bring the focus back to the Midwest where I feel the representation isn’t very strong. I want to be successful in Fort Wayne because everyone that buys art in Fort Wayne buys it outside of the city. I want to change that so that people in Fort Wayne and outsiders will buy art here.” As a Millennial, Tom has quickly realized that he has to be a part of the change that he wants to see....

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