Spring Into Fort Wayne’s Art Scene

While spring represents a new beginning for some, for many of the area’s arts organizations, it represents an end. With performance schedules running from fall to spring, the months from now to May are when many local dance, music and theatre companies put the exclamation point on their season of performances and exhibits. But not too worry, there are still many options to check out the city’s vibrant arts scene.


One of the premier spring performances came courtesy of Fort Wayne Ballet as it staged the popular Coppelia, a story ballet performed in collaboration with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. “It’s one of the best love stories, and it’s by E.T.A. Hoffman who also did The Nutcracker,” said Karen Gibbons-Brown, executive and artistic director of the Fort Wayne Ballet. Performances of Coppelia took place at the Arts United Center March 22-23. The ballet’s Youth Company will also perform Rapunzel on April 21 with two shows at the Auer Center studio.

Fort Wayne Dance Collective has shows at two schools where the company does outreach: Wayne and South Side High Schools. The South Side performances take place April 26-27, while the performance at Wayne will be held May 10. The Dance Collective will also host its Choreographer’s Lab Performances April 21-22, and caps off its season on June 16 at North Side High School with its annual Family Concert featuring students from its classes.

Mikautadze Dance Theatre (MDT) celebrates its tenth anniversary on June 1-2 at Williams Theatre at IPFW.  The performances feature repeat MDT collaborator and composer Debra Lynn, along with other live musical performances, and Music Director David Mikautadze will debut a music composition. MDT dances Red Tree, an audience favorite from its repertoire with music by composer Rob Foster and choreography by Elizabeth Mikautadze.


The community and university theatres have a wide variety of spring offerings. The Civic Theatre closes its 90th anniversary celebration with a special evening in collaboration with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. The show, A Tribute to the Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber features return visits from two Civic alumni who have gone on to Broadway and opportunities with national touring companies: Christopher Sloan and Manna Nichols.

First Presbyterian Theatre performs The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Count Leo Tolstoy: DISCORD, an imagined meeting in the great beyond of these three larger than life figures April 19 – May 5.

For those looking for Shakespeare, IPFW‘s theatre department performs Romeo & Juliet at the Williams Theatre April 20-28. And for something completely different, Three Rivers Music Theatre brings A New Brain to Fort Wayne for the first time this spring.

The Arena Dinner Theatre hosts Calendar Girls April 27-May 12 and A Little Night Music June 9-23. For those who have not experienced dinner theatre, the doors and cash bar opens at 6:15 pm, followed by dinner at 7 pm and the show at 8 pm.

Among family-friendly theatre events are the final show of All for One‘s 25th Anniversary season, The Secret Garden. Based on the popular book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the play brings to life the story of orphaned Mary Lennox and her mysterious home, April 20-29 at the ArtsLab at the Auer Center.

Fort Wayne Youtheatre closes its season with the popular Fairy Tale Fest. Pinocchio runs May 17-19. The full day of family fun takes place on the downtown arts campus May 19 with the 5th Annual Fairy Tale Fest. The festival features many special programs by the city’s arts organizations including Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company, Fort Wayne Dance Collective and Youtheatre. Youtheatre also takes part in downtown’s Mother’s Day Trolley event May 13 with a reprise of its Fairy Tale Fest performance of A Grimm Mother’s Tale.

The Embassy Theatre wraps up its Broadway at the Embassy series on April 11 with The Buddy Holly Story.


The Fort Wayne Philharmonic is not only busy with its collaborations with Fort Wayne Ballet and the Civic Theatre, but also has a robust performance schedule. Its tribute to Led Zeppelin is April 13. The orchestra’s Family Series features a performance of Peter & the Wolf April 8 at IPFW’s Auer Performance Hall, and its Bach in the Barn performances can be seen at the Joseph Decuis Farm May 2-4. The Philharmonic also hosts Video Games Live March 3, Music from Don Giovanni March 4, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert April 7 and From the East April 15, all at the Rhinehart Music Center at IPFW. (There will be an additional performance of From the East at the Auer Center ArtsLab April 11.) The Philharmonic closes its season with Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony March 10, The Leningrad Symphony April 28 and Pictures at an Exhibition May 12, with all performances at the Embassy Theatre.


The Fort Wayne Museum of Art‘s Selections from the Steven Sorman Archives remains on exhibit through April 15. The 2018 Scholastic Art and Writing Award winners are on display through April 8, and A Year of Making Meaning 2017 opens March 10 and continues through June 3. The National 2018: Best Contemporary Photography opens April 21 and continues through July 15. Through March 23, Artlink exhibits the work of Audrey Mills, Elena Smyrniotis and Artlink’s 2017 Artists-in-Residence Mel Sealy and C.A. Neal.

The Orchard Gallery features clay figures by Kimberly Rorick and mixed media treasures by Hannah Burnworth. It features mosaic crosses by Paula Crill along with first time exhibitor Jon Detweiler May 2-31.


On May 5, those who love art can enjoy a day on the road for the Rural Artist Studio Tour, which offers a chance to peek inside the studios of local artists in Fort Wayne, Leo and Spencerville. “Viewing an artist’s work, visiting with him and seeing where he creates his work, is unique experience,” said Kristy Jo Beber of the Orchard Gallery. “The majority of the artists on the tour are full-time artists who show at art fairs and galleries around the country. Some also teach and host workshops. For most of us, this is the only day when the public is invited into the studios. The rest of the year, the studios are simply places to create.”


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