Editor's note: This week's Page Turner reader interview is with Dan Ross, director of community development at Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.
“I am currently reading 'Building Communities, Not Audiences: The Future of the Arts in the United States.' It's by Doug Borwick, whom I met when he was a speaker at Hanover College. He was an interesting speaker, and he is an interesting writer.
“He sets forth premises, then case studies to support them. He discusses the challenges the arts are facing and often are too disconnected from their communities. His premise: bring the arts to the people, not people to the arts.
He suggests free concerts in the music area and engaging children in the visual arts, although anyone can attend that effort, creating partnerships. Many of his ideas we already have been doing in Fort Wayne.
“He talks about creative entrepreneurship, a sharing for-profit with nonprofit organizations. We are actively pursuing this in Fort Wayne. As an example, ArtLink has purchased a curriculum that helps visual artists turn their creativity into a business. Cinema Center has a program for young filmmakers. In New York the Metropolitan Opera Co. now has an online ticketing system that helps with the ticketing process.
He writes about the Berkshires where small businesses work in art colonies. We are engaged in making Fort Wayne even more of a vibrant community, utilizing incredible art opportunities. There is an amazing amount of talent here, and that attracts returning young people. We are a place where people want to be. Wunderkammer is a perfect example of what is happening here. And there are young musicians at IPFW, both classical and jazz, who are writing their own music. The Fort Wayne Ballet has new choreography by David Graham that is so creative. This all brings a lot to the community. So much of what he writes ties in with what we've done here.
“I read a fun “beach” book. It's 'Hatteras Moon,' and was written by Stephen March. I met him, too, in the Hatteras area. He is a professor of English lit who has written three or four novels. This one is a murder mystery set in Hatteras and the scenery, therefore, is familiar. It is a fun read.
“While I was growing up I read a lot by Evelyn Waugh, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. They grabbed me – the authors of those Jazz Age stories. I also got caught by Russian literature and read a lot of that period of writing, but I rather associated with Fitzgerald. And while in Key West, of course I visited Hemingway’s home – and saw the cats! But one book I have reread at least three times is ‘The Good Soldier,’ by Ford Maddox Ford. I think it is my very favorite book.”