Top 5 Reasons Creative Types love Fort Wayne

It is often said that creative pursuits are solitary ones and that the life of an artist is a lonely one. In reality, artists thrive off of other artists. Painters can inspire writers who can spark an idea for a lyric to a song which a photographer listens to as she rearranges perceptions and creates a winning shot. It is beneficial for artists to be in an area with other creatives – somewhere inspiration is leaking out of every wall and winding down every street.

Fort Wayne is a hub for creativity and its love of the arts make it a welcomed haven for creative thinkers. Don’t believe me? Here’s the top 5 reasons why Fort Wayne is a great place to be creative (just to name a few!):

1. Art Galleries

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Orchard Gallery

Fort Wayne is home to over 20 art galleries. It would be easy to kill a day traveling from gallery to gallery. Even just browsing can be inspiring; seeing what other artists are up to and how they use the canvas or clay to make sense of what they perceive in the world. Plus, if you hit up Orchard Gallery, you’ll be able to talk face to face with an artist. Orchard Gallery is a cooperative gallery run by artists who banned together to create this unique showroom and retail space for local art.

2. The Outdoor Spaces

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Bird of Paradise at Botanical Conservatory

Creatives often find inspiration in nature. It offers a place of quiet and solitude for thinking and imagining. It also provides organically beautiful images which can inspire something or serve as the subjects themselves. Fort Wayne has over 81 miles of trails winding through the city and over 50 parks to walk and relax in. No matter where you live, access to the trail system is easy. Our trails and safe and well-maintained and offer a variety of scenic views from cityscapes to river’s edge and secluded wooded areas. In addition to all these public lands reserved for ecology, Fort Wayne is also home to the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory. These gardens are a haven of nature in the heart of downtown Fort Wayne. Each of the gardens with the building represents a different climate of foliage and provides a unique experience.

3. Cost of Living

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Free Summer Concert at the Library

Fort Wayne is a very affordable city, which is key when you are an artist. While it is a very rewarding profession, it is not always financially rewarding. Not only is the cost of living one of the most affordable in the state, but the city also offers a lot to do for free. It can be hard to find fun things to fill your time when you are on a budget, but Fort Wayne has a lot going on for not a lot of money. From free outdoor concert series to arts festivals and free movies, there is always something to do if you are looking. Check out all the different ways to entertain yourself!

4. Downtown Arts Campus

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FW Ballet performs in the park on the Arts Campus

Downtown Fort Wayne is home to a thriving arts district. The Arts Campus houses a number of different artistic outlets from theaters to galleries, cinemas, dance space, and museums. This hub is home to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art as well as the Arts United Center, the Cinema Center, and the Auer Center, which houses Artlink and the Fort Wayne Ballet. This area is home to many different arts festivals throughout the year, including the Taste of the Arts, Fort Wayne’s premier arts festival.

5. Universities

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University of Saint Francis

Fort Wayne boasts a number of different universities. Not only does this provide the opportunity to take classes now and then when the inspiration is really lacking, but it also means that Fort Wayne is home to different open lectures, book readings, and dance and art showcases. With Indiana Tech, IPFW, and Saint Franics growing every year, the opportunities are also expanding.

These are just a few of the reasons that creative types will find a quick home in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne expands its art community almost daily and the people of the Summit City are eager for more. So, come check out Fort Wayne – hit up some galleries, see a show at the Embassy, and walks around our trails. See what you can create!

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Ride Green Ft. Wayne Pub Tour

Often when I find myself in a new area I like to get a bit of “ground time”. Going on a walk, run, or bike ride is a wonderful, sensual experience for getting in touch with what a city, town, or countryside has to offer. A little quality time in nature or a quick pit stop in a new restaurant and a bar certainly tends to help along this crusade. Remind me to tell you about that time in Tucson…Luckily “Ride Green Ft. Wayne” has just the thing to take you on such a journey.

The Northeast Branch of the U.S. Green Building Chapter (USBC-IN Northeast) will be hosting its first annual “Ride Green” bicycle pub tour of 7 of the Fort’s favorite bars and restaurants. The event will take place on Saturday, September 6, at 2:00pm and will take attendees on a 6-mile loop beginning at the Wells Street Bridge. The route will pass by local favorites such as O’Sullivan’s Italian Pub, The Green Frog Inn, and Calhoun St. Soups, Salads, & Spirits.

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Ride Green Ft. Wayne Bike Route

Billed as the official public launch of the Sustain Fort Wayne Campaign, “Ride Green” is designed to show residents and visitors alike how to enjoy many of Ft. Wayne’s various businesses in fun, practical, and environmentally conscious ways. According to branch chair Andrew Hesterman, the event is meant to connect and build a spirited community looking to be active participants in the city. “We wanted to emphasize that anyone can be involved in a sustainable mindset and culture”, said Hesterman.

After a period of introspection the USBC-IN Northeast decided it was looking to expand it’s involvement in Ft. Wayne, making its voice heard throughout the community in interesting and inviting ways. While much of its energy was focused on promoting sustainability in the areas of design, architecture, and engineering, there seemed to be something missing in the organization’s overall mission. When asked for comment, Hesterman said, “We want to get people in gear with what (the USBC-IN) is all about.” Cultivating and participating in a burgeoning cycling scene in the Fort seemed the best course of action.

In turn, the USBC-IN Northeast hopes “Ride Green” will encourage citizens to become members. The organization offers LEED Environment certifications and education programs for building, engineering, design, and architectural professionals. Not involved in those fields? Then the organization offers “Green Associate” certifications for those who are looking to be involved with sustainable technologies and lifestyles.

When I asked Hesterman if he would consider himself a “cyclist” he responded with good humor stating, “If I am it’s at a leisurely pace!”

Be sure to check out the event’s website for more details! Did I mention you get a shirt with this?

And, in case you want to know, I’m SO going to be there.

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Photo Courtesy: Ride Green Ft. Wayne

Andy Helmkamp


Andy is a recent arrival from Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he studied film theory and cultural criticism and spent time working with the Milwaukee Film Festival. There was also a lot of roasting and buying coffee thrown in there for good measure. Currently working for the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art and the Allen County Public Library, he's looking forward to exploring all the Fort has to offer. Chances are you'll find him at the Cinema Center, biking, writing, and running (from nothing in particular...weird right?), and pretending to know way more about craft beer than what he actually does.

#FWChalked Chalk Wall

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.”

Artlink and Love, Fort Wayne are indeed following Gandhi’s advice and think nothing but positive thoughts in the hopes they will lead to a more loving city and eventually world.

Artlink and Love, Fort Wayne have teamed up to help spread #FWChalked Chalk Wall to our city. Large Chalk Walls are being installed across the city and these community art projects encourage people to share what they love about their neighborhood or downtown.

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Love, Fort Wayne was started by the 2013 class of Leadership Fort Wayne and is being carried on by the 2014 class. They are working to spread a positive image for our city and involve residents  in this process. They have already begun part of this process by capturing video of different residents and community leaders sharing their feelings on the Summit City.

Their partner in this project, Artlink, is a local gallery in the Auer Center for Arts and Culture. Their mission is to provide educational programming for artists and the community of Fort Wayne, and this new project is part of that effort.

This latest campaign has a two-fold purpose. First, it allows Artlink to engage the community in meaningful ways beyond the gallery storefront. Second, it enables Love, Fort Wayne to continue the positive conversations about our city it intends to foster.

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The first wall was installed last week at Wunkerkammer. From its 7,000-square-foot home on Fairfield Avenue, Wunderkammer hosts carefully designed exhibits, educational programs, performances, and special events. The space is intended to be an outlet for contemporary and thought art and often hosts difficult, yet insightful works. Other future sites for the chalk walls include Firefly Coffeehouse, The Arts Campus, and Parkview Field.

Everyone in both organizations is excited to see how the conversation evolves. Head down to Wunderkammer, add your input to the wall, and see what everyone else is saying about why they love our city.

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

Fort Wayne Outfitters offers unique activities

Tucked away by the river in the historic Cass Street Depot – a building that looks like an illustration from an old fairy tale – lies Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot. This gem made its debut in Fort Wayne in 2007 and has been helping both residents and visitors alike to rediscover the joy of biking and the Fort Wayne rivers ever since.

FW Outfitters offers a variety of different rental options for your exploring pleasure. They have both standard and premium bikes on hand to rent. If you are just looking for a nice family outing and something different to do for an afternoon, the standard bikes should fit your needs perfectly. If you are more familiar with biking and would prefer to ride a mountain bike or specialty road bike, then the premium bikes are for you.

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For just $48, you can rent out a standard bike for the whole day! Take it out in the morning and watch the city wake up and start moving. Bike to one of the great downtown restaurants for a quick refueling break, and then see more of the city from the peaceful Rivergreenway.

Or, if you already have your own bike and want to bring that with you, the Depot is great place to start a ride. They will be happy to service your bike for you, regardless of brand, and make sure you are all set for a long ride. Pick up a cold drink to take along while you are there!

FW Outfitters also supplies visitors with kayaks, canoes, or stand-up paddleboards. See Fort Wayne in a whole new way from the river. No matter which way you’d like to travel, FW Outfitters has you covered. They have single kayaks as well as tandems and canoes. This is a great way to spend the day with the family and it will definitely be an experience they never forget. Single kayaks are only $40 for a whole day of river exploration.

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If you’d like to get outside but aren’t really one for canoeing or biking, try booking Captain Black’s pontoon tour. The tour will last two hours, departs from the depot, and travels along the three rivers. This boat ride for 12 is sure to be a great time. See the rivers and enjoy a great meal catered by Hall’s, one of the favorite local restaurants.

For more rates on rentals and a link to the Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot shop, check out their website. And, with its convenient location, there are hotels and a plethora of restaurants close by to make your trip planning easy. Check out some of our great packages for insider deals. Take advantage of the cooler summer we’ve been having and start exploring the outdoors!

Holley Taylor


Holley is a student at Albion College in Michigan studying English with a Creative Writing Emphasis and History. She is excited to be back in her hometown this summer working as a Marketing Intern for Visit Fort Wayne. Holley enjoys reading, writing, dancing, and spending time with family and friends.

West Central home & garden tour offers inside view of historic neighborhood

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Grab your walking shoes, and get ready to explore one of Fort Wayne’s most historic neighborhoods!

Fort Wayne is home to many historically rich neighborhoods. Among them, West Central is worth a second look. The good news for you is that annual Home & Garden Tour is right around the corner. Here’s what you can expect from this weekend that celebrates history, arts and horticulture in one of Fort Wayne’s most eclectic neighborhoods.

On Sept. 6 and 7, proud residents in the neighborhood open their doors for a few hours to the public for this annual event. Think tours of gardens, historic homes and other buildings from the 19th and 20th centuries, an arts fest, food, and live music. Several stops are on the itinerary this year, including beautiful homes and gardens. Browse the booths of  local artists at the ArtsFest and select a one-of-a-kind treasure for your home or as a unique gift. You’ll surely be impressed by the amount of local talent.

If you’re hungry there will be a variety of local food trucks and other vendors on hand. There will also be live entertainment during the event. The block party lasts all weekend!

I have gone every year for the past three or four, and I can tell you it’s one of the highlights of the fall. It inspires me to see how old homes have been restored with sometimes new and modern twists. Occasionally you can talk to the residents and learn about their renovation adventures.

I also enjoy hearing some of the history behind the residences.  At one time West Central was where Fort Wayne’s wealthy lived, so there is a backstory or two waiting to be rediscovered. History buffs: rejoice!

Tickets are $15 the day of the tour.  You can buy discounted tickets are local shops in the area. The tour runs from 11 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 6 and 7.  For further information, visit the West Central Neighborhood website, or call (260) 385-WEST.


Lauren Caggiano was raised in Fort Wayne, and returned in 2007 upon graduation from the University of Dayton. The president of WriteOn LLC, she specializes in writing, marketing, and French translation. In her spare time she enjoys travelling, yoga and volunteering. In the summer you can catch her riding around downtown on her vintage green Schwinn. For more information, check out her website: