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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Visiting artist Nicholas Sironka will create a Batik project during the FAME Festival this weekend.

Friday, March 15, 2019 1:00 am

FAME Festival features work of thousands of students

If you go

What: FAME Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Grand Wayne Center

Admission: $5 adults, free for ages 18 and younger; FAMEArts.org

Each year, the Foundation for Art and Music in Education picks a different culture for students to study, and “Sub-Saharan Africa” is the theme as the FAME Festival takes place this weekend in downtown Fort Wayne.

“We've been around the world once, and so now we're repeating,” executive director T. Irmscher says.

The art and presentations on display do not have to follow the African theme, but many schools will include classroom study on the region being featured in FAME each year.

Projects this school year included having students paint while listening to African music. Another taught composition of music, thinking about the types of instruments that are native to Africa.

The festival will feature more than 6,000 pieces of art from students in 62 northeast Indiana schools. There will also be more than 3,000 students involved in choir, dance, band and drama presentations Saturday and Sunday at Grand Wayne Convention Center.

Visiting artists have been in area schools this week talking to students and will be at the festival this weekend.

Nicholas Sironka is a visual artist from Kenya who creates work in the medium of Batik, which uses hot wax and cold water fabric dye. He appeared at FAME about 14 years ago. Sironka will be at the festival both days to create a project with help from children.

The Griot Drum Ensemble from Indianapolis will perform at 2, 3 and 4:15 p.m. Saturday to teach African drumming, storytelling and dance.

The Imaginarium area will include 15 hands-on art projects such as making djembe and Swahili drums, dolls, masks, shields, and Maasai bracelets and necklaces. The Imaginarium is open until 4 p.m. each day.

An instrument playground will let children try out new instruments, and the Sweetwater Rock Academy will give rock 'n' roll lessons.

“It's all about getting exposure to children's art and music,” Irmscher says. “If you don't have kids, it's still fun to come out and just be around the enthusiasm and the color. The artwork is just amazing.”

There is a celebration of youth concert at 3 p.m. Sunday including FAME participants, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic's Youth Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Children's Choir and the Fort Wayne Ballet's Youth Company.

“You wouldn't know you're in an all-youth concert because it sounds so amazing,” Irmscher says.

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette