FAMEā€ˆFestival features 1,400-plus works of art

By Amanda Redman

The 15th annual FAME Festival took place Saturday at the Honeywell Center, featuring a vibrant display of local art and performances.
“I’m amazed at the talents the kids have,” said Judy Ward, Wabash Festival director and founder.
There were more than 1,400 art displays from students including Metro North, Saint Bernard, Sharp Creek and Southwood elementary, Wabash Home School Art, L.H. Carpenter Center, and Wabash Middle School.
The students gave performances in piano, vocal, and dance, as did Wabash Valley Dance Theater, Wabash Area Community Theater, and Wabash Community Band.
There was an “Imaginarium” with plenty of activities to encourage young artists, who could make an Olympic torch, a victory wreath and knight armor.
Wabash High School Art Club painted faces and there was information on hand for eager artists to get involved with Honeywell Arts and Entertainment summer programs.
“The day went smoothly — thanks to a lot of good people,” Ward said.
This year’s theme was Fables and Folklore from Eastern Europe and the Balkans was on Balkan countries and featured art workshops inspired by the cultures of Romania, Bosnia and Greece.
“It makes us learn and grow too,” Ward said. “That’s one thing tell my kids — you can learn something every day, even after graduation.”
Jeanie Cooper, Home School Art Program instructor, led a workshop on making Martisors, a Romanian good luck charm on a red and white cord. According to tradition a person who wears the charm will be blessed with a prosperous and healthy year.
Parents seemed to be more intrigued about this workshop than the students, Cooper said laughing.
“The adults wanted to make them too so we let them,” Cooper said. “Everyone needs art.”
Cooper said the event was a happy one and she enjoyed seeing the various works of art on display.
Lori Render, L.H. Carpenter Early Learning Center teacher, brought 190 displays from her students who used watercolor crayons to create Claude Monet “paintings.”
“You can’t go wrong with Monet,” Render said. “It’s fairly easy.”
“This event just keeps getting better every year,” Sharon Shellhamer, who was elementary art teacher at Southwood for 30 years. “It’s fresh. It’s new and it’s good.”
“I was involved with this when we first started,” she said.
Shellhamer and others credit Ward with the ongoing success of FAME.
“She blows me away,” Shellhamer said. “You just watch her. She does so much.”
Cooper reiterated Shellhamer’s remarks about Ward, “She’s a one-man show.”
Ward however, placed the credit back on Cooper, Shellhamer and the community of Wabash who make the event possible with donations, sponsorships and volunteers.
“They’re very art-oriented toward the kids,” Ward said.
Ward said she is especially grateful to the teachers who prepare students for the festival and spend their Saturday supporting them.
Next year’s theme will be the Nordic countries, Ward said.
To learn more about FAME festival, go to

Posted on 2023 Mar 21