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 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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Pedal City: The Rebirth of W. Main Street
May26

Pedal City: The Rebirth of W. Main Street

I’m sure you’ve seen the Pedal City carts making their way around Downtown Fort Wayne for the last couple of years. The seats are always full, the peddling-participants are always quick to wave to those as they pass, and everyone always looks like they are having a blast. I can confirm that it is indeed a good time. The only thing to note is that your legs might be a little sore the next day. I have a great solution to sore legs (even though it’s always worth it). Stop by Pedal City Beer Garden. The new expansion at Pedal City brings everything you loved about the mobile experience to one stationary place. This is not the W. Main Street you have been driving through the last few years on your way to Paula’s On Main. With new business and stores popping up on the street, the addition of the Pedal City Beer Garden has officially placed this extension of Downtown Fort Wayne back on the map. Open Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 12 a.m., they have their own parking lot for patrons, and easy access to all of downtown Fort Wayne and the West Central Neighborhood. Filled with tables, plenty of space to walk around, an indoor bar, foosball table, fire pit, and then some, this is the place to be. Lounge, socialize, drink, take in the summer weather, and remember that all of this is happening in a place you used to drive by without much notice. Located at 1215 W. Main Street, you can find out more about their grand opening from May 16th, book your next tour, follow them on Facebook, or just stop by and check it out for yourself.                  ...

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Third World Shoppe: Shopping Activism
Jun12

Third World Shoppe: Shopping Activism

Third World Shoppe, located at 611 West Wayne Street, is an important part of the west side of downtown Fort Wayne. Located in the heart of Wayne Street, it is surrounded by historic buildings and beautiful trees that reach to the sky. Its importance comes not just from what we can find in our shopping experiences at Third World Shoppe, but also in what they give back to the community each day.   Founded in 1972, they have spent their time helping to eliminate poverty, connect people with each other, and spread the wealth found in Fort Wayne among those that need it most. Their shop reflects the eclectic nature of their owners. Filled with one of a kind gifts that entice shoppers with products featuring unique detail and design, there are all kinds of treasures to find. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., there is something for everyone here. They carry everything from jewelry and accessories to books and dolls. They also have organic teas and coffee, and “green” related items for those trying to stay conscious of where they spend their money.  All of their Fair Trade items benefit low income artisans and small farmers in over forty countries around the world. In addition to this, they also have a very educated staff and walls filled with information from social issues to community outreaches. If you are looking for the full downtown shopping experience, you should definitely add Third World Shoppe to your...

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Show Us Your Neighborhood: West Central
Apr03

Show Us Your Neighborhood: West Central

I’ve lived in Fort Wayne my entire life and have moved from neighborhood to neighborhood since I was a kid. I enjoyed my childhood near Foster Park, spent most of my school years near Covington and Homestead, and ended up at Dupont for the first half of my twenties. I then migrated downtown eventually settling into my home in the West Central Neighborhood. I can truly say that West Central is home not only physically but also mentally and emotionally for me. It’s this neighborhood that represents my values, offers random acts of kindness, and gives me the greatest sense of community that I have ever experienced in Fort Wayne. My fiancé and I recently sat down to talk about our future. Do we buy a home? Do we keep renting? We made lists of pros and cons. The one thing that we both were able to decide on without doubt was that we wanted to stay in West Central. The closet space might be small and the yards may not be large, but nothing compares to what we get in return from the people that surround us block after block. During the last snow storm, a neighbor from four houses down that I had never met saw me struggling to dig my car out from a mountain of snow. He grabbed a shovel and helped me for 30 minutes until I could get my vehicle out. When we moved into the neighborhood, we were immediately invited to wine parties and outdoor cookouts. We ended up spending Thanksgiving that year with one of our neighbors that became part of our extended family. We cut each others lawns, we smile at strangers on the sidewalk, and every year, we take great pride in the annual West Central Home and Garden Tour. I love jogging through the streets of Jefferson, Washington, and Wayne during the summer and taking in the unique look of each house. The streets are lined with single family homes, new construction, apartments, triplexes, and every kind of demographic. Everyone looks out for the people around them and compared to other areas of Fort Wayne that I have lived in, I know all of my neighbors by name and we stop and talk when we see each other. Aside from that, the Embassy, Parkview Field, and a long list of restaurants are all within walking distance. If you are looking for a unique neighborhood that will give you a sense of community and embrace you immediately as part of the extended downtown family, look no further than West...

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