I ran into the director of our local arts fund raising organization today at the Second Street Market in Dayton (which, by the way, is a destination worth frequenting for great food, produce, flowers, seafood, handcrafted items, fresh meats, tremendous breads and baked goods, entertainment, and people-watching), and she told me that this year’s campaign has been extended to August and that so far, funds raised are behind last year.
Cultureworks is an umbrella organization that raises money for our large, medium, and small arts groups in Dayton – and we have a blessing of many wonderful arts groups – and then distributes the money to the groups. This allows folks to support many organizations with just one donation.
Dayton has been hard hit this year, with four of five GM plants closing and an unemployment rate higher than the national average. In addition, some of our major corporate funders have left town. We have here more really fine cultural groups than most cities our size, many of which have national and international reputations. Our home grown performing artists are tres excellent, and out of town artists love to perform here because of Dayton’s knowledgeable, appreciative audiences, as well as the fact that visiting artists are welcomed with open arms, and truly, although it seems cliche, feel the love…
We have great galleries and a huge pool of talented visual artists, and organizations to support them too. Our philharmonic and ballet are two of the oldest in the country, and they are surrounded by numerous smaller musical and dance ensembles who represent an array of genres. So you can see that I am a cheerleader for our arts community, and it is a really exceptional community.
HOWEVER, in this current economic downtown, the moneys that our groups need to survive is dwindling, and so I am making a plea. If anyone who reads this blog would simply send $5 to Cultureworks, and then forward this plea to a friend, perhaps we can make up some of the deficit.
I can’t stress enough how important the arts are to quality of life. If you visited the Cityfolk Festival in Dayton last night, you would see just how popular that one music festival is in our community. And it’s just one. We have so much more that we must hang onto.
SO, here is the address for Cultureworks: 126 NORTH MAIN STREET, SUITE 210, DAYTON, OHIO 45402-1766. Their website: www.cultureworks.org
PLEASE CONSIDER SENDING JUST FIVE BUCKS. EMAIL A FRIEND. ASK THEM TO DO THE SAME. Maybe you can copy me too. We need your help. And, THANKS.
To those of you in other cities, consider supporting your own community arts groups, although we’ll thankfully accept your donations too.