Hundreds of people filled Main Street and Freimann Square on the Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne campus Saturday to enjoy the fourth annual Taste of the Arts Festival.
Artists sold photos, ceramics, jewelry and more alongside nearly 30 food vendors including Subway sandwiches, dessert by 1950s-style Chrome Plated Diner, and other food by Granite City Food & Brewery and Baker Street.
Flattened Red Stripe beer bottles dangled as a wind chime at a booth selling glass bottles recycled into art pieces. Brightly painted wheel barrels-turned-art lined the driveway to the Auer Center, a display of the World on Wheels Garden Project, which represents different cultures living in Fort Wayne. Nearby, Rebecca Stockert, a master of art student at University of Saint Francis, painted a Hindu god in oil.
Another artist, Michael “Hap” Hapner displayed his spotted bikes on Main Street.
“This is my style, called spots and dots,” he explained to someone looking at the flowers – made from shaped vinyl records - in his booth. He paused as children ran up to one of the bikes, a 1950 girls Columbia with a horse saddle called “Three Star Deluxe.” After seven weeks of work and a cost of $5,000, it wasn't for playing with. However, it came from childlike inspiration.
As a kid “my bike was my horse in my imaginary world,” said Hapner, of Wabash County, who sells one-of-a-kind art from reused items as Cornbelt Cowboy.
Children had plenty of other places to engage their inner artists in Freimann Square. Children surrounded Fame Festival's booth to decorate brown paper bags and make them into hats. Students at New American Youth Ballet put red tutus onto children to teach them jumps.
Young and old got a chance to see some clever inventions. Matt Geyman manned the solar cooker, a huge silver dish with a pot containing an egg in water over it. Steam rose from the pot as Geyman waited for the egg to cook. Nearby, Casey Drudge worked the kinks out of a chain reaction machine. Both were at TekVenture's booth. The group meets at 7 p.m. Thursdays for a Maker Meeter, where those with ideas for inventions can get some mentor advice. The program is currently in a trailer at Webster Street and Washington Boulevard in the Allen County Public Library's parking lot.
Revenue from food and beverage sales will help Arts United fund arts education grants and other community-based arts projects.