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The Journal Gazette

  • Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette Local artists Frank Louis Allen, left, and Theoplis Smith battled paintbrush to paintbrush Saturday at the Battle for the Blind at the Wunderkammer Company on Fairfield Avenue.

Sunday, August 13, 2017 1:00 am

Local artists wage battle on behalf of Leader Dogs

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

There were no fat lips or black eyes after the Battle for the Blind on Saturday at the Wunderkammer Company on Fairfield Avenue.

Instead, the weapons were paintbrush and canvas as two local artists – Frank Louis Allen and Theoplis Smith – painted in front of friends and battled for the hearts and votes of the onlookers.

Smith won by an edge, but there were no hard feelings. They are friends, the artists said.

Art battles have caught on in bigger cities, said Lea Fleming, the event's coordinator. Fleming works for Midwest Eye Consultants, a partner of Leader Dogs for the Blind. Now, it was Fort Wayne's turn.

Fleming and Chauntell Adlam, Midwest's manager, both knew the artists and wanted to plan something that included “our love for art,” Adlam said. Adlam said Midwest hoped to raise about $1,000 for the Leader Dogs for the Blind.

Daniel Taylor, an optometrist at Midwest Eye Consultants, said Leader Dogs for the Blind-sponsored dogs are free to the client. The firm has participated in VisionWalk for years, he added.

Allen and Smith painted in three different rounds, two that lasted about 45 minutes and another for 20 minutes. 

It wasn't tiring, Smith said, because he works that way every day as a banker at Wells Fargo in Waynedale.

Allen emigrated from Bedfordshire, England, four years ago to marry his wife, Kara, and works as a music facilitator at the University of Saint Francis' Jesters program for special needs children.

Allen has had extremely limited vision since childhood, he said, so the event was meaningful to him.

Smith described his paintings, full of color, as “organized chaos,” and said he has shown at the Wunderkammer often. The duel was “one of these events where people should be a part of it,” he said, adding people should not take their sight for granted.