FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An interactive event Friday gives the community an inside look at the process of creating the artwork that continues to brighten up spaces throughout downtown Fort Wayne.
It’s the fifth year for the Art Crawl, a fundraising event by Art This Way featuring 12 spots in the heart of the city where the community can meet the faces behind the artwork displayed on buildings, storm drains and public spaces all over town. Artists can be found throughout the event demonstrating the process behind their craft.
Ashley Beatty, the founder of Bread & Circus Gallery in Fort Wayne, says it all boils down to exposure.
“This type of exposure is exactly what any artist needs,” Beatty said. “It’s extremely positive to be able to be involved in this weekend because we have a lot of artists who are still emerging.”
Artists with Bread & Circus have a pop-up gallery on display at Dash-In, one of the stops on the Art Crawl. Three artists involved in the pop-up are also demonstrating live artwork. Molly Shondell is demonstrating wood-burning, Jaden Rice is painting, and Trevor Campbell is drawing at the event.
“By coming out and supporting an event like this, you do breathe life into the extension of Bread & Circus, or any other gallery or establishment that creates space for artists to present their work in Fort Wayne,” Beatty said.
You can find the brick and mortar for Bread & Circus at 3400 North Anthony Blvd.
“If you can take a moment and come sit and just be with people who have a like-minded attitude, we have the space for that,” Beatty said.
Another creative featured during the Art Crawl is Bryan “Breadwig” Ballinger, who makes art in several different mediums.
He’s a regional artist whose work is recognizable downtown, like the “Blue Birds” mural featured outside Visit Fort Wayne, and the colorful parking garage next to Pint & Slice, just to name a few. His work- often involving animals- is also displayed in Kendallville, Huntington, and other areas around northeast Indiana.
Besides murals and publicly displayed pieces, Ballinger also designs toys, and writes and illustrates children’s books among other projects.
Ballinger said that over the past three decades in the art scene, his style has become distinct, describing it as “silly and whimsical”.
Ballinger said he finds creating in public spaces is refreshing compared to sitting at a desk on a tablet, and he looks forward to interacting with people at the Art Crawl.
“I just hope they’re entertained,” Ballinger said, adding he hopes visitors use their imagination to bring life to his designs.
Ballinger has a children’s book- his second one- coming out in the spring, titled “Big Wig Parade.” You can take a look at the book’s quirky characters on his social media, along with many more designs on his website.
On the Art Crawl, you can find Ballinger at 111 W. Berry St., demonstrating the process of creating a mural, and also featuring his toy designs.
“I think Fort Wayne is a great example of a city that’s embracing art and transforming itself,” Ballinger said.
The most recent creation added downtown is the Unity Mural. For more than a month, two artists have been at work on the piece- almost 4,000 square feet- at the railroad underpass near Promenade Park and The Landing. A dedication for the piece takes place during the Art Crawl.
New to the event this year is a silent disco, organizers said, where people can jam to music with wireless headphones in an alleyway and dance to their hearts’ content.
Organizers said money raised during the Art Crawl directly funds public art in downtown Fort Wayne.
It’s all happening Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. To learn more and buy tickets, visit the website for Art This Way.