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If you go
What: Taste of the Arts, featuring 68 performances by dancers, musicians and actors, 30 culinary samples from local restaurants, a musical playground sponsored by the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and booths featuring work by both local and regional artists
When: Noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 25
Where: Arts United Center, 303 W. Main St., and surrounding areas
Cost: Free
Courtesy photo
Fort Wayne Youtheatre will be among the many local performers at Taste of the Arts on Aug. 25 at Arts United Center.

Art lovers to get canvas for creativity at fest

– from potters to painters to stick-figure enthusiasts – are invited to participate in a citywide visual art project next weekend, during a daylong celebration of art and culture.

The “From White to Bright Community Art Installation,” sponsored by Artlink, will make its first appearance Aug. 25 during Taste of the Arts, an art and food festival featuring nearly 70 performances by dancers, actors and musicians, culinary samples from 30 local restaurants, and a chance to interact with dozens of local arts groups.

“This is such a great way to become a part of the culture of our city,” says Tena Woenker, marketing and events director for the Downtown Improvement District. “The festival itself really gives you a sense of how creative Fort Wayne is. And ‘White to Bright’ is a way to not only enjoy the art at the festival, but to actually be a part of it.”

Similar to Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s “Obliteration Room,” the “White to Bright” project features an all-white living room that will eventually – with the help of Taste of the Arts festival-goers – become completely covered in brightly colored stickers.

“The end result makes the room look like it has been paint-splattered,” Artlink Executive Director Deb Washler says. “I’m hoping people will stop back throughout the day of the festival to see how it changes.”

The “room” was constructed using cardboard walls, surrounding an 8-foot-by-8-foot cardboard floor. In addition to a smattering of furniture placed in the room, homey touches such as a magazine rack, lamps, a television and hanging wall art were also installed, Washler says.

“Any weird thing we could find at the Salvation Army, we pretty much snagged and painted it white,” she says. “We even bought an ugly oil painting for about 50 cents and painted it white too.”

For 50 cents, participants will be given a sheet of stickers and invited to place them anywhere in the room, including the floor, the furniture and walls.

“We’re hoping for some creative use of stickers,” Washler says. “Kids are usually the best at this sort of thing, so we’re expecting quite a lot of young participants.”

After Taste of the Arts, “From White to Bright” will be displayed at the Fort Wayne Regional Maker Faire in October, where another layer of stickers will be added.

In December, the room will be displayed at Artlink. All “official participants” (those who signed the “White to Bright” book) will be formally invited to the opening reception for the exhibit.

In the past, installation art – three-dimensional artwork that transforms the viewer’s perception of a particular space – has received mixed reviews in Fort Wayne, Washler says.

In the past, when Artlink has devoted exhibits to installation work, the response from the community has been one of bafflement, Washler says.

Allowing the community to participate in creating the “White to Bright” installation might change that, she says.

“It’s good for the community to be exposed to installation art because it’s not something you see regularly in Fort Wayne,” she says. “The more you’re exposed to it, the more you take away from it and just enjoy it – enjoy the process of creating it, interacting with it. Just enjoy the weirdness of it.”