First Fort Wayne SOUP Winner Explains Soundwalk
Jun28

First Fort Wayne SOUP Winner Explains Soundwalk

With the next Fort Wayne SOUP (learn more) micro-grant dinner coming up this Thursday, I caught up with Soundwalk’s Kurt Roembke, the first micro-grant winner, to learn more about his creative project designed to enhance the Fort Wayne community by pairing locally composed sounds with local landscapes. Roembke is a music composer and performer and media professional based in Fort Wayne. He is also a co-worker and personal friend of mine, so I was excited to learn more about this project and just what it takes to be a successful presenter at Fort Wayne SOUP. About Soundwalk Roembke and Michael Sullivan, app developer from Elemental Spark, are developing an immersive smartphone application called Soundwalk, which will pair music composed by Roembke with physical objects within a geographic space. Lindenwood Cemetery on Fort Wayne’s west side is the first area being mapped via the app. “What we’ve developed so far and what we plan to be our final form is basically people take their phone, they download the app, and they really could put it in their pocket at that point,” Roembke said. Once app users are walking, the experience would be hands-free and completely controlled by the app at that point. People will be able to walk from place to place while listening to music composed specifically for each area of the cemetery. Users would then be able to check the app to see what music is playing at certain locations. The music will change based on the physical features of the area or the history behind the people buried nearby. For example, if there is a memorial to a former baseball player, the music might be inspired by that. At Lindenwood Cemetery, app users would be able to jump right into the experience once they arrive at the cemetery. People will be able to start their walks near the entrance, but users could really be able to start from anywhere. Although people can technically use the app as part of a group, Roembke believes many people might choose to make it an individual experience within the space. “There’s something about the nature of walking through a cemetery that feels a little more solitary and less group-oriented,” Roembke said. The initial vision in Roembke’s mind for the app was a two-dimensional sound space where users would walk from location to location and the music would do a seamless crossfade transition. With the influx of mini-grant money from SOUP, Roembke has expanded his vision to create a more interactive user experience with the app. “We basically started to develop it as a three-dimensional sound space,” Roembke said. “What that means is, the app pays...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight – Alexandra Hall
Aug10

Entrepreneurship Spotlight – Alexandra Hall

This Entrepreneurship Spotlight features Alexandra Hall, a local (wonderfully and amazingly talented) artist. She’s a member of Fort Wayne Artists Guild, Wunderkammer Company, and Artlink, and interestingly enough, holds degrees in non-art related fields. She got her start right here in Fort Wayne, at a 2013 art show at the Dash-In. She’s an inspiration for all of us to find the things that we are passionate about, pursue them, and not write-off the idea that our hobbies and talents can someday (with a lot of work and a little patience) turn into a full-time gig. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? Before I had a location at the City Exchange my business was mobile. I attended art festivals and showed work in galleries all over the country. While other cities may have a bigger art scene, I was able to develop a strong customer base here because there is a growing desire for unique and locally made artwork. When it was time for me to experiment with a brick and mortar location, I decided to test out the Fort Wayne market; I only signed a short term lease at the Exchange. I have a summer festival season coming up, so I closed my shop at the end of May, but I have learned a great deal about running a boutique/gallery space. I hope to return in September and find a different location for my studio/gallery. What resource in the Fort Wayne area has helped you thrive in the community? There is a very supportive arts community here. I would not be where I am today without my artist mentors and support from local galleries. People like Charley Shirmeyer, owner of Northside Galleries and local artist Terry Ratliff, have allowed me to make the move from hobbyist to professional artist. The kindness and generosity in this community is the only reason I am able to pursue art. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? I think the biggest challenge I have faced is balancing the growing clerical aspects to my business and the actual creation of my product. I have nothing to sell if I don’t remember to make time to paint! What person has helped you the most in your journey? My parents, Scott and Andrea Hall, have helped me the most. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? It isn’t easy. Surround yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed, and don’t allow obstacles to slow you down! What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in...

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Mandie Kolkman and Art to Heart: Bringing Artists’ Pizzazz to the Public
Dec21

Mandie Kolkman and Art to Heart: Bringing Artists’ Pizzazz to the Public

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...

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Hobnobben Film Festival
Nov18

Hobnobben Film Festival

The Hobnobben Film Festival, a multi-day, multi-verse event, will be the first of its kind in Fort Wayne. We have never had a film festival before and I had the chance to interview Jonah Crismore, executive director of Cinema Center, about the Hobnobben festivities. In celebration of Cinema Center’s 40th anniversary, Jonah hopes that this festival will highlight major talent in our city and inspire others to make and submit future films. For filmmakers on the fence about submitting a film to Hobnobben, Jonah says just “do it”. There are many categories ranging from social justice documentaries to low-budget zombie films. Jonah states that he would like to see this festival be a platform for a filmmaker’s career to begin. Cinema Center, in partnership with Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne and the University of Saint Francis, will be screening short and feature length films shot by Fort Wayne locals. The venues for this festival include Cinema Center, Arts United Center, Arts United Parkview Physicians Group, ArtsLab Theater, and the University of Saint Francis Performing Arts Center. It will take place from June 16 to June 19, 2016. In addition to featuring local filmmaker’s work, there will also be panel discussions, meet and greet opportunities, and Q+A sessions. He hopes to help educate the audience over the process of filmmaking and make them active and aware film viewer. Hobnobben Film Festival is looking for volunteers to help make this festival a success! Email volunteer@hobnobben.org to fill out an application. Don’t miss Northeast Indiana’s first BIG film...

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Cinema Center and Artlink Contemporary Gallery Partner to Present Artament
Nov16

Cinema Center and Artlink Contemporary Gallery Partner to Present Artament

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Artament is back for its 11th annual season, and as always, it’s worth checking out! We’re extra excited this year, because Artlink Contemporary Gallery and Cinema Center are working together to co-host this spectacular event full of food, fun, and art. Proceeds will go to both organizations, and we could not be more stoked to participate in a fun night that benefits two great leaders in local art! Guests will begin their evening at Artlink Contemporary Gallery, enjoying hanging art from local artists. There will be live bidding on locally designed hanging ornaments, along with a photo booth, yummy food and a cash bar courtesy of JK O’Donnell’s, and live music from Hope Arthur. After the event, guests can head over to Cinema Center and enjoy a special film screening. Film, food, photo booth, art, and an auction; seriously, there’s something for everyone. Even if you’re not an expert in local art — or any kind of art — it’s a great place to get your feet wet. The laid back, fun atmosphere Artament provides is the perfect opportunity for newbies to involve themselves in the local art community. Amber Foster, Executive Director at Artlink, encourages everyone to attend, especially if you’re looking to broaden your experience with local art. “Artament is the perfect event for those new to the art scene. Attendees will witness a diverse representation of our local art scene, as well as mingle with veterans and newbies to the art scene alike. There is definitely something for everyone at this event, and of course, it supports two amazing organizations.” The partnership between Artlink and Cinema Center for this fundraising event is an exciting indication of the direction the local art community is taking. Support for local art is gaining momentum in Fort Wayne, a result of the shift in thought by community leaders, who now recognize art’s central role in in both the quality of life and placemaking in our city, says Foster. Both Amber Foster and Jonah Crismore, Executive Director of Cinema Center, agree that the collaboration between organizations in the art community should be more of a rule than an exception. “I hope Cinema Center’s partnership with Artlink on Artament proves to be the model and rule, not the exception, and more arts organizations collaborate on fundraising effort,” says Crismore. “Through cooperation and planning, the events are strengthened, the organizations are strengthened, and most importantly, the greater community is strengthened.”  The event takes place this Saturday, November 21, from 6 – 9 p.m. Tickets may be purchased through Cinema Center 260.426.3456, at Artlink, 260.424.7195, or online. Tickets are $20...

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