Shawn Dunwoody, an artist from Rochester, New York, is scheduled to present the keynote address at the upcoming Regional Neighborhood Network Conference in Fort Wayne.

This year’s conference is set for Sept. 19-21 and is hosted by the city of Fort Wayne. The theme is “Play in the Fort,” with an emphasis on how recreation, arts, culture and social interaction can help transform neighborhoods, according to a statement from the city.

Dunwoody will speak during Sept. 20’s luncheon about how art can instill pride and help revitalize neighborhoods. Dunwoody uses art to promote urban development. For his Fruit Belt project he worked with five teens to install murals throughout their urban Rochester neighborhoods. For more information, go to

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to take various guided tours throughout Fort Wayne’s neighborhoods, including historic neighborhoods, the Electric Works development, housing and urban development in southeast Fort Wayne and innovative parks and recreation programs as well as a tour of local breweries.

Workshop topics include: promoting safe neighborhoods, improving urban housing, public art, marketing and social media for neighborhoods, volunteer recruitment, working with diverse populations, neighborhood recreation programs and more.

Early bird cost for the conference is $150. Rates increase to $175 after Sept. 1. This provides access to keynote speakers, workshops, tours and full meals. The link to register can be found at

The city of Fort Wayne is able to keep the conference fees down because of donations from the Knight Foundation and the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. Other sponsors include Parkview Health, Ruoff Home Mortgage, Fort Wayne New Markets Revitalizations Fund LLC, Faegre Baker Daniels, NIPSCO, Comcast, Anthem, Black & Veatch, Rothberg Logan Warsco LLP, Flagstar, Upstar, Bose McKinney & Evans LLP, First Federal Bank, the Greater Fort Wayne Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

—Staff report

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