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FAME, the Foundation for Art and Music in Education, was founded in 1986 with the belief that elementary and middle school students need special opportunities outside of school to create, exhibit, and perform works of art. What started as the FAME Festival in 1987 is now an acclaimed year-round arts education program for children.

Ongoing annual programs focus on a current world arts study and through the following programs FAME brings the study to the classroom: Visiting Artists, Composition Project, Fusion of Concert Colors, FAME Summer Arts Camp, regional festivals, Celebration of Youth Concerts, Teacher Workshops, and Culture Kits.

The annual FAME programs have touched the lives of more than 150,000 school children and their families throughout the school year and have reached more than four million people since 1987.

FAME is a proud principle partner and funded member of Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne.

From a dream came FAME

In the summer of 1986, Dorothy Kittaka, Music Specialist, and Mike Schmid, Art Specialist at Haverhill Elementary School in Southwest Allen County Schools, were very concerned about the state of arts education with federal and state cuts in the education budget, which translated to the arts being cut or reduced in the schools. There was no public arts advocacy group to promote the value of elementary music and art in the community. Art and must teachers did not have a network to communicate and share ideas with each other. Dorothy and Mike decided to start a countywide arts festival in Fort Wayne in a downtown venue, the Grand Wayne Convention Center. With no funds and a dream, they opened the phone book and looked up the elementary schools in the Allen County area. After sending out 100 letters addressed to “Music and Art Specialist” in each school, they received a 65 percent positive response and FAME had its start.

March was the month selected for the FAME Festival to celebrate: National Music in Our Schools Month and Youth Art Month. From this grass roots beginning, FAME has now expanded to seven annual arts programs with students at two northern Indiana sites; FAME now reaches more than 150,000 children annually. Each year, a cultural focus is selected to highlight the culture and arts of a different part of the world. From the first festival in March 1987, FAME has been the largest single event at the Grand Wayne Center. FAME has reached millions of children!

FAME Co-founders Dorothy Kittaka And Mike Schmid
FAME Co-founders Dorothy Kittaka And Mike Schmid

FAME Co-founders Dorothy Kittaka and Mike Schmid