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Prototype for possibility

August 5, 2004 . Ticket! Entertainment Guide . Page 16T

Five-day event is aimed at creative revitalization.

By Ashley Smith, The News-Sentinel
In January, Pop Filter immersed 700 people in a unique social environment that fused video, music, visual arts and drama in a way that left people saying, "We want more." So Pop Filter's creators, Janette Luu and Matt Stuart, answered their call. Their new project, City Prototype, is a five-day event that showcases how art and technology can revitalize the Fort Wayne community.
"We're not just telling about what should be done downtown; we're showing it," said Luu, executive director for Pop Filter. The idea for the project came after Luu attended a conference held by Carnegie Mellon University professor and author Richard Florida. The conference explained to young professionals how to attract and retain creative talent in their cities. With the help of Stuart's technology and video insight, Pop Filter was created.
"We decided to do a multimedia event to showcase the creative talent in Fort Wayne," Luu said. After Pop Filter's huge success, the pair was urged to produce another event. That event is City Prototype, which opens Tuesday as city officials come together to endorse the City Prototype initiative.
"(Luu and Stuart) have ideas for the potential for this community," said Paula Hughes, executive director for the Downtown Improvement District. "For one week, they are showcasing what Fort Wayne could be like."
All of the events or prototypes highlight the importance of ideas and creativity in the scope of Fort Wayne's economic growth. Each prototype shows how technology can have an impact on the future economy. It will also shine light on the undervalued and underutilized areas of downtown Fort Wayne.
"We're just trying to get people to see differently," Luu said. During the week, City Prototype will take vacant retail spaces downtown and transform them into thriving storefronts. Another day, high school students will come together to give their perspective on the future of Fort Wayne. On the last day, people can purchase poetry on any topic at whatever price they choose, an event that will show the relationship between art and commerce.
"These are really functional things that are proposals and concepts for downtown revitalizations," said Stuart, who is creative director for Pop Filter. For the culminating event Aug. 14, Luu and Stuart are putting together yet another Pop Filter event. For the event, the couple will take over the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Performing Arts Center, the FourthWave building and even Main Street itself between Lafayette and Barr streets.

New York singer/songwriter and actress, Eszter Balint, and Jonathan Goldstein, a writer and former producer for the public radio program, "This American Life," will be headlining for local and national performers during the event. Free food, tents and large video screens will fill the area with entertainment not normally seen in Fort Wayne.
"We're bringing some really incredible people," Luu said. "It's just really cool that we can bring acts that normally wouldn't come here." So throw away your preconceptions about Fort Wayne, come and join in and see the future of the Summit City.
City Prototype schedule of events
* Prototype News Conference - "The revolution WILL be televised," 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Summit Club, 110 W. Berry St.
* Prototype Collaboration - "Voice & Vision," noon-6 p.m. Wednesday at Higher Grounds Coffee, 101 W. Wayne St. Area high school students collaborate on video project.
* Prototype Product Launch - "We engineer our lives," 7-10 p.m. Aug. 12 at Avant-Garde Gallery, 1301 Lafayette St. Northeast Indiana Innovation Center sponsors unveiling of Kinosynth, a brain-imaging device by Resistors.
* Prototype Storefronts - "The city is ours," noon-10 p.m. Aug. 13 at The Landing and at Midtowne Crossing.
* Prototype Immersive Experience - Pop Filter, 8 p.m. Aug. 14-2 a.m. Aug. 15 in the 300 block of Main Street.
Valerie McBride of Grabill works on decorating her television Sunday at the OmniSource warehouse on the corner of Clinton and Fourth streets as part of City Prototype, a public art project. Decorated TV sets will be displayed Tuesday at Freimann Square.
Photo By Aaron Suozzi of The News-Sentinel