Wednesday, November 7, 2012

THE NUTCRACKER Returns With More Muttcrackers, A Guest Artist, Fort Wayne Ballet's Talented Corps Of Dancers, and One Final Appearance Of Classic Stage Scenery

New this year is a joyous holiday event to celebrate the opening of The Nutcracker on Friday, November 30The Nutcracker Act III will begin immediately after the performance at approximately 9 pm at the Auer Center for Arts & Culture at 300 E. Main Street, home of Fort Wayne Ballet’s studios and directly across the street from the Arts United Performing Center. The event will include heavy hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and dancing with the Paradise Band, as well as a chance to purchase one of four exclusive hand-crafted Nutcracker ornaments. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased by calling 260-484-9646. Proceeds benefit In-Theatre Education performances for area school children and individuals from Easter Seals ARC of Northeast Indiana. Thank you to our generous sponsors, Steel Dynamics and Wayne Metals.

Also providing a cause for celebration has been the success of Fort Wayne Ballet’s collaboration with Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control for the past two seasons. Fort Wayne Ballet has seamlessly incorporated adoption-eligible dogs in the Act I Party Scene, providing space in the lobby for FWACC to allow visits with the canine stars during intermission. Families interested in adoption can begin the process right there, but people were also encouraged to visit the wide array of other adoptable pets at the shelter located on Hillegas Road. Allison Miller, Adoption Supervisor of FWACC, has reported increased foot traffic in the wake of The Nutcracker, and, most happily, all 28 of the dogs featured during the 2010 and 2011 runs ofThe Nutcracker found new homes in time for the holidays.

Last year Karen Gibbons-Brown, Executive/Artistic Director of Fort Wayne Ballet, began contacting other ballet companies throughout the country in an effort to expand the project nationally, a project she hopes to continue in the years to come. Among those who signed on was Charleston Ballet Theatre who partnered with Charleston Animal Society to present “Muttcrackers” of their own for adoption. Ms. Gibbons-Brown has met with Richmond Ballet and has provided a website for companies everywhere to view to learn more about the process. MuttcrackerX10 ( provides background for others to follow Fort Wayne Ballet’s lead, including the perspective of both the ballet company and the animal shelter. Additional companies to cast their own “Muttcrackers” include Ballet Etudes and Carolina Ballet.

“We’re excited that other dance companies have begun to incorporate this into their own Nutcracker productions,” she says. “Our hope is that this project expands nationally, and I’ve been more than happy to share our experiences and successes with directors around the country.”
The 2012 production will also mark the final year for some of the iconic set design and scenery used for many years. With plans underway to replace pieces which are beginning to show wear, meetings have already begun regarding 2013 staging of The Nutcracker. Ms. Gibbons-Brown is already eagerly anticipating what she calls “a total makeover for next year” and continues in her quest to maintain not only the high professional standards of the performances but keep the costumes (designed by Tess Heet) and stage d├ęcor fresh and inviting.

In 2001, the Wall Street Journal recognized Fort Wayne Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker as one of the top five performances in the United States. 

For more information about The Nutcracker performance visit 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Results & Photos of Plank-a-Palooza! 2012, Benefiting Early Childhood Alliance - ECA in Fort Wayne

Updated post Oct. 13, 2012:  The results are in for Plank-a-Palooza! 2012 (see more photos on Social Fort Wayne's Facebook Page)....
Best Overall Structure Award - Trine University

Best Engineering Award - IPFW

Most Creative Award - Turnstone
All the teams did a great job and it was very difficult to choose the three award winners.  The three judges took their responsibility seriously and deliberated for a long time.  All the teams left with huge smiles on their faces knowing they accomplished a difficult and fun task, plus knowing they helped raise funds for Early Childhood Alliance which was the real winner!

Original post from Sept. 13, 2012: Several area Fort Wayne teams are registering to secure their spot in this challenging event that raises money for Early Childhood Alliance.  Hurry, registration ends on September 22, 2012 (after this date, call to see if there is room).  If you don't want to participate, you at least have to see the Plank-a-Palooza! structures that are constructed to believe them!

You may ask, what is a Plank-a-Palooza!?  It's a challenging event in which teams use 500 KEVA planks to design and build a structure in 30 minutes. No glue is needed, just gravity. This highly energized construction event creates interest in math and science and encourages creativity and collaboration.  Teams members are all ages and come from all walks of life, friends, families, schools, business, clubs, etc.

Now you are asking, what are KEVA planks?  KEVA planks are precision cut maple blocks (about 1/4" x 3/4" x 4 1/2") that stack on four different planes with surprising stability.

When:  Saturday, October 13, 2012, 10am
Where:  The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN
Admission:  Free to the public to view
More information:  Jane McGraw, 260-458-0125 or

Monday, September 24, 2012


Fort Wayne CIVIC THEATRE presents CELEBRITIES ACT UP on Staurday, October 13, 2012 in Fractured Fairy Tales Election 2012. It is Snow White (Jessica Butler) vs. Pinocchio (Ben Eisbart) along with a huge cast of celebrities, in this unusually clever fairy tale written & directed by Phillip H. Colglazier, Executive/Artistic Director, Fort Wayne CIVIC THEATRE.

When:  October 13, 2012, 6-10pm
Where:  Arts United Center, Downtown Fort Wayne
What:  food, auction, show, dessert, and bar
Cost:  $90 per ticket
Tickets:  260-422-8641 ext. 226 or Online

Click here for all the details!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fort Wayne Center for Learning Festival of Sports, November 1, 2012

Reserve your tickets now for this FUN event, Fort Wayne Center for Learning Festival of Sports.  Proceeds from this fall event will help children become lifelong learners.

When: Thursday, November 1, 2012; 5:30-8:30PM
Where: IPFW - Walb Ballroom
What: Good-Natured Competition (win medals!)
Dinner - DONATED by your Favorite Restaurants
Silent Auction

Tickets are only $20 in advance (6 tickets for $100).
Email to reserve your tickets.

Sponsorship Opportunities are also available.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dr. Arun Gandhi in Fort Wayne, Saturday, September 22, 2012

You are invited to see Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, at the annual fundraiser to benefit the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace, Inc. The Saturday, September 22, 2012 event takes place at the Pine Valley Country Club in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

What: Indiana Center for Middle East Peace
When: Saturday,  September 22, 2012
Cost: $50/ person - Dinner, Silent Auction, Presentation

There is also the opportunity to attend a special reception in honor of Dr. Arun Gandhi:

SILVER BENEFACTOR - $250 - 2 tickets for Dinner, Silent Auction, Presentation: Name listed in program - 2 tickets for Arun Gandhi reception @ Dr. Isa & Mrs. Betty Canavati's home, Friday, Septermber 21, 6:30pm

GOLD BENEFACTOR - $500 - 4 tickets for Dinner, Silent Auction, Presentation: Name listed in program -  4 tickets for Arun Gandhi reception @ Dr. Isa & Mrs. Betty Canavati's home, Friday, Septermber 21, 6:30pm  Autographed copy of Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography by Dr. Arun Gandhi.

For more information on this event and secure your tickets call Ahnee Conner at 260-241-5613 or visit Indiana Center for Middle East Peace.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taste of the Arts - Downtown Fort Wayne on August 25, 2012

It is almost here, Taste of the Arts 2012 in downtown Fort Wayne.  Where else will you find all in one festival:

9 Performance Stages with continuous entertainment scheduled
Over 30 restaurants serving up their specialties
Over 25 Artists in the Art Marketplace

If you have never attended this event you are missing a wonderful time. Visit the website to learn more about the event.  This festival is FREE to attend.  All the entertainment is free for all to see along with the art activities.  Food tickets are only $1 each, most items take 2-4 tickets.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Raising Your Spirited Child............................ A FREE Workshop Hosted By ECA

Parents and teachers come hear Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, Ed D., best-selling author, international lecturer and parent educator, discuss raising your spirited child.  This opportunity is made possible through a grant from the AWS Foundation and Dekko Foundation and is sponsored by Early Childhood Alliance

To accommodate your busy schedule or location, choose from two workshop times:

August 24
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Cornerstone at First Assembly of God                                            
1400 West Washington Center Road

Fort Wayne, Indiana

August 25
9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
East Noble High School Cole Auditorium
901 Garden Street

Kendallville, Indiana

Monday, June 25, 2012

Defending Gold Send Off Concert - Voices of Unity Choir, Fort Wayne, IN - June 30, 2012

Come out to hear Fort Wayne's World Champion Youth Choir, VOICES OF UNITY YOUTH CHOIR, give you a sample of competition material, as they prepare to Defend their GOLD title at the 7th World Choir Games held for the first time on U.S. soil in Cincinnati, OH (July 4-14, 2012).

What:  Send Off Concert
Where:  IPFW Rhinehart Music Center
Ticket Cost:  $5
When:  Saturday June 30, 2012 - 6:00 PM

In celebration of our great city, state, and nation - you are invited to come out to congratulate and inspire these young people for their courage, discipline, and determination to BRING HOME THE GOLD!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wine in the Pines to Benefit Black Pine Animal Sanctuary, Albion, Indiana

Reserve now to join Black Pine Animal Sanctuary for their 3rd annual Wine in the Pines fundraiser, coming to the Sanctuary on Saturday, June 23, 2012!  Save $5.00 by reserving in advance at just $25.00 per person.

Black Pine's senior keepers will start the evening out with an 'early bird' guided sanctuary tour beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Enjoy a variety of wines from the tasting sponsors, light hors d'oeuvres, and music from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.  This evening of "adult" fun offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy observing the animals, meeting the dedicated caregivers and other staff members, and learn more about Black Pine's non-profit mission.

All proceeds benefit the animals.

Thanks to the sponsors for their continued support and making this event possible!

Republic National Distributing Company
Southern Wine & Spirits
Matt Larsen, DJ TKO

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Bring your family and friends to PICNIC IN THE PARK to benefit Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana.  Bravas Dogs will be serving their famous hot dogs, try theBALDdog for only $4.  All proceeds from the sale of this hot dog will benefit Cancer Services.

Who: Everyone
When: June 15, 2012, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Where: 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne
What: Picnic In The Park, Food-Games-Music
Cost: Buy a hot dog to benefit Cancer Services
RSVP: Call Amber at 260-484-9560

Click on the poster below for more details:

Thursday, May 31, 2012


 Take a look at the photos posted to Facebook and see all the great supporters who came out to walk and raise funds for the National Kidney Foundation at the 2012 Walk.

Love your kidneys and learn how to care for them at the annual Kidney Walk, Saturday, June 16, 2012 at Headwaters Park West in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Registration is at 9:00 am and the 2-mile walk begins at 10:00 am.  It is easy to register individually or as a team online at the National Kidney Foundation website and there is no registration fee.

If you can't be there to participate in the walk please consider donating to a walking team or individual. Find the team or individual you want to support here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

6th Annual Early Childhood Alliance Tea, May 18, 2012

It was a beautiful afternoon for a fundraiser just northeast of Fort Wayne in the rural countryside of Indiana, as over 80 attendees felt as though they had been transported to under the Tuscan Sun for a truly Italian Tea.  Early Childhood Alliance was the recipient of the generosity of the sponsors and all that attended this 6th annual event.

Everyone there had a "sereno e tranquillo" Italian-style afternoon leisurely savoring the wonderful culinary delights prepared by Apple Spice Junction, enjoying the pleasure of each other's company, sipping delicious teas, and bidding on the wonderful items donated for the silent auction.

If you missed the 2012 Tea, you will not want to miss the 2013 Tea which will have another unique theme sure to please all.  To sponsor or attend the 7th annual Early Childhood Alliance Tea please contact Jane McGraw by emailing or by calling 260-458-0125.

To view more photos of this wonderful afternoon, click here and visit's Facebook page.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bob and Irene Walters Honored with United Way Bill Latz Award for Leadership in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Fort Wayne business people and community volunteers Bob and Irene Walters were honored with United Way’s Bill Latz Award for Leadership on May 22, 2012. The award was presented during United Way’s annual leadership reception at the Lincoln Financial Event Center at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, IN.
Bob and Irene Walters 2012 Bill Latz Award Recipients
Linda Ruffolo, Irene Walters, and Donna Emley

Bob Walters is Partner at Barrett & McNagny LLC and Irene Walters is Executive Director of University Relations and Communications at IPFW. Both Bob and Irene have served the community in many leadership positions. Bob is currently a member of the Fort Wayne Downtown Development Trust, the Advisory Committee to the City of Fort Wayne Community Trust Fund, and the Hospital Authority of the City of Fort Wayne. Irene is a co-founder of Francine’s Friends and still serves on their board, as well as currently serving on the board for Turnstone, Artlink, Downtown and RiverFront Development, Visit Fort Wayne, Tower Bank, and Parkview Hospital, among other involvements. Bob was included in the 2012 edition of Best Lawyers in America as the Fort Wayne Best Lawyers Corporate Law Lawyer of the Year and, in 2011, the Allen County Bar Association awarded him the Niemann Citation for Excellence and Professionalism. Irene has received many honors as well, including the Athena Award in 2010, the Monsignor Thiele Award in 2008, and Indiana’s highest civilian award, the Sagamore of the Wabash in 1994.
Standing Ovation for the Walters!

The Walters began giving to United Way of Allen County when they first moved to Fort Wayne after college in the late 1960s. Both have served on the Board of Directors; Bob from 1987 to 1994 and again from 1996 to 2001 and Irene from 2005 to present day. Bob was Campaign Vice Chair in 1997 and has been a Real Men Read volunteer since the program’s inception in 2009. He is also a School Buddy at Forest Park Elementary with a child in the second grade. During his tenure on the Board, Bob was a leading voice who worked with local law firms to raise the profile of United Way of Allen County in the community and, in turn, increase fundraising efforts. Irene started her work with United Way in the early 1990s, serving as Day of Caring Chair and on the Campaign Cabinet. She has served on nearly every committee within United Way, including the Finance Committee, Executive Committee, Governance Committee, Marketing Committee, and Women United Steering, Mentoring, Events, and Initiative Voting Committees. She saw United Way through a transformative period when she was Chair of the Board from 2007 to 2009 and led efforts to change the bylaws to allow the Chair to be in office for at least two years to enhance their knowledge and, therefore, effectiveness in that role. Currently, Irene leads efforts to grow leadership giving and participation in Women United, which focuses on United Way’s early childhood education initiatives.
Marilyn Moran-Townsend

“United Way and our larger community have benefited enormously from Irene and Bob Walters' leadership,” said Marilyn Moran-Townsend, who was the recipient of the Bill Latz Award for Leadership in 2011. “I can't think of an aspect of community life they haven't positively impacted; and I can't imagine what Northeast Indiana would be like without their drive, their compassion and their vision. We are so lucky that they have chosen to call Fort Wayne and Allen County their home.”

“Irene and Bob’s time as volunteers for United Way of Allen County has been one of immense growth; they help spread the message of United Way and work tirelessly to make lasting changes in our community,” said Todd Stephenson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “On behalf of United Way and the many people our agency has served over the years, I want to thank the Walters for their outstanding leadership and advocacy.”
Todd Stephenson

The Bill Latz Award is given only when a volunteer has provided extraordinary leadership and service to United Way of Allen County. Recipients will have provided 20 or more years of service to United Way, will be major donors for many years, and will have made other exemplary contributions to the organization. Previous winners include Marilyn Moran-Townsend, Harriet and Richard Inskeep, Dick Doermer, and Ian and Mimi Rolland.
Bill Latz’s service to United Way of Allen County was extensive, including volunteering for the organization from 1942 to 2007. Latz served in almost every United Way volunteer capacity; he was the Board Chair, Campaign Chair and an Account Executive. He held the distinguished title of Board Director Emeritus and stepped in as Interim Director prior to the hiring of a permanent President and CEO in 1994. Latz and his wife, Danny, were Diamond Donors for more than 20 years; Danny continues to contribute at a leadership level. Latz passed away in December of 2007.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

STEVE PARKER / ALS 5k - May 19, 2012 - Pokagon State Park

It was a beautiful day for the Steve Parker/ALS 5k run/walk.  The race was run during the triathlon.
Mary Ann Parker, Steve's wife is the official starter of the race
The course was on a portion of the trails that the triathletes covered.  Steve is a long time member of Team TriFort and has been diagnosed with ALS and cancer.  All proceeds from this run will go to help Steve and his family as they endure the toughest race of their lives. Due to Steve's condition, he was not able to attend the race held in his honor.

Racers received a technical t-shirt and goody bag.  Refreshments were served after the race.  Awards were given to top finishers in their age groups and the overall winners.  Click here to see the results of the 5k.
Steve Parker's family turned out in a big way for the 5K in his honor!
To learn more about Steve Parker, please read the article published on April 23, 2012 in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

"Tapestry: A Day for You", April 27, 2012, Fort Wayne, Indiana

If you missed the 2012 "Tapestry: A Day for You", unfortunately for you, you missed a wonderful event!  The Breakfast Speaker, Dedication Award Honoree, and Keynote Speaker all were inspirational.  The Breakout Sessions were informative and entertaining, plus the Artisan Boutique and Silent Auction had something for everyone's taste and price range.

The Breakfast Speaker was the Mayor of Kendallville, IN, Suzanne Handshoe. She spent nearly a quarter of a century in the U.S. Marine Corps, she's a wife and mother of two children.  She is beginning her third term as the first female Mayor of the City of Kendallville. She is a living, breathing example of what you can accomplish when you "break the mold."

In her presentation, Handshoe talked about how "Breaking the Mold" allowed her to excel and succeed in her life's journey as she faced challenges in what some would call "a man's world."

Handshoe is a 1998 graduate of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision. She and her husband Randy have two children, Christina, a 24 year old nursing student at IPFW, and Brice, an 18 year old high school student.

Next, Dedication Award Honoree, Donna Emley, gave a heart-felt acceptance message thanking the special people in her life - from her parents, who adopted her as a newborn through to the business people, family, and friends in her life today - that makes what she has the opportunity to do possible.  

Every day Donna Emley works hard in her business, community, and personal life to be a role model for women and men of all ages. She leads by example through leadership, passion, compassion, service, positive attitude, and character. She is principal and creative director of Emley Design Group and has long been active in the community, serving on numerous boards and committees and lending her expertise to organizations such as American Cancer Society, Leadership Fort Wayne, Invent Tomorrow, Fort Wayne Bicentennial and Millenium Committees, and more. Emley currently serves as a board member of Francine's Friends, and member of the marketing committees for Arts United Taste of the Arts and Early Childhood Alliance.

Emley is a graduate and Distinguished Leadership Award recipient of Leadership Fort Wayne and was honored by Indiana University—Purdue University Fort Wayne as an Honorary Lifetime Alumni Board Member. She has also been a very active member of Trinity English Lutheran Church, serving as vice president/chair of the congregation in 2010-2011 and communications director of its 3-plus year capital campaign. In business, community service, or personal issues, Emley's strong character shines through. As anyone who has interacted with her recognizes, Donna Emley is a woman who is never afraid to stand up for what is right. She is a wonderful role model.

Not to be missed was the lunchtime Keynote Speaker, Patricia Heaton.  The entire audiences enjoyed her refreshing candor, honesty, humor and willingness to tackle the tough topics facing people today. She shared with the audience her insights on marriage, motherhood, and raising four sons with how she's able to balance all that with her career. Her uplifting and humorous glimpses into her personal and professional life made Heaton a fascinating, entertaining and heartwarming speaker.

Heaton serves at the request of President Bush on his Council for Volunteerism, and lives out her commitment to serve through the many charities she supports, including Autism Speaks, The American Red Cross, World Vision, Compassion international, The Tuberousclerosis Society, The Every Child Foundation, Sparrows Gate Orphanage, and numerous other local, national and International organizations and causes. She is a highly sought-after charity emcee known for her eloquence and quick wit.  In keeping to her true character, Patricia Heaton was gracious in staying until everyone who wanted an autograph received one - risking missing her flight back home.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fort Wayne FAME Festival 2012

It will be another fantastic FAME Festival on March 17th and 18th in downtown Fort Wayne at the Grand Wayne Convention Center.  Come out and see what Northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne area youth are doing in art, dance, and music and how FAME is fulfilling its mission.

Since 1987, FAME has advanced its mission to foster and perpetuate creativity through multicultural arts education by providing enriching programs to area schools and children. FAME programs bring visiting artists directly to over 107 schools and provide many opportunities for students to showcase their talent in our community. As school budgets are impacted by our current economy and as our community continues to grow in diversity, programs like FAME are more important than ever.

Here are the details:

Dates: March 17-18, 2012
Location: Grand Wayne Convention Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Hours: Saturday: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm & Sunday : 12:00-5:00 pm
Admission: $ 3.00 for Adults, Children are FREE

Go to the FAME website to print a map of the festival stages and art board locations and the performance schedule.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Fort Wayne Ballet, northern Indiana’s oldest and premier academy and performance dance organization, announces a special offer available for those looking for a special Valentine’s Day gift and experience. With the upcoming spring performance of the exquisitely romantic The Sleeping Beauty, which will be performed with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic March 23-25, a package to honor and celebrate the timeless love story is a delightful way to ask that special someone to be your Valentine.
            Two packages are available for those who wish to give the promise of a perfect evening to a loved one. The $150 package includes: a certificate for two tickets to Fort Wayne Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty ($70 value); a $75 certificate for dinner at Club Soda (taxes and gratuity not included); DeBrand chocolates to be presented with the certificates; and a rose from Young’s Greenhouse which will be waiting at your seat in the Arts United Center at the time of the performance.  For $250, the package will also include a one-night stay at the Hyatt Place Fort Wayne.
            The Sleeping Beauty, the annual springtime collaboration between Fort Wayne Ballet and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, will be performed four times in three days:  8 p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2:30 and 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 25.  Those who purchase packages can choose from any available performance; order tickets by February 29 to assure premium seating.
            For more information about the “Just One Kiss” Valentine’s Day packages, please call Fort Wayne Ballet at 260-484-9646.

Monday, January 30, 2012

2nd Annual Ombudsman Pajama Drive in Northeast Indiana / Fort Wayne Area

Take part in the Long Term Care Ombudsman Pajama Drive for nursing home residents in the Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana area.  This is the second annual drive. Donations of new pajamas or gowns (any size – any gender) are encouraged.

What: Pajama Drive
When: Valentine’s Day February 14th – February 29th
Where: Call 260-469-3161 for drop-off locations
For More Info: Call 260-469-3161 or email

It is funded in part through a grant from Council on Senior Services (COSS). Elderly in nursing homes are often a forgotten population – it is the goal of the Ombudsman Program to serve those in nursing homes; advocating for better treatment and care.

Find out more about the program at: