Tag Archives: Victoria Theatre

The art in smart

Just a thought for today: Supporters of art are movers and shakers, which is why ART is the foundation of SMART!


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


To those of you in other cities, consider supporting your own community arts groups, although we’ll thankfully accept your donations too.

Advocating for art in Columbus

I traveled to Columbus last Wednesday – yes I am just now writing about it – with a group of artists, arts advocates, and arts professionals – folks from Cultureworks, which is Montgomery County’s fundraising arm for the arts, folks from the Dayton Visual Arts Center, Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera, Dayton Philharmonic, Human Race Theatre, Victoria Theatre, Bach Society, Cityfolk, Muse Machine, Dayton Playhouse, Town Hall Theatre, Dayton Art Institute and other arts organizations, performing and visual, – long run-on sentence – to lobby on behalf of our organizations, individual artists, and the Ohio Arts Council. The OAC’s funding has been drastically cut in these recessionary times, even though Governor Strickland is an arts supporter himself. The difficulty of course, is how do we allocate limited statewide funds? The other issue is, how do we not support the arts, which are even more vital in bad times? It is historical fact that arts attendance increased during the Depression because folks needed the uplift and hope that the arts can provide. In addition, in Ohio, the arts employ a lot of people, and contribute roughly 2% of the GDP in the state.

The arts are a health issue, an education issue, an economic issue, and a quality of life issue. I teach a class at the Kettering College of Medical Arts, which trains physician’s assistants, nurses, radiologists, and the like. The classes I teach are drawing and painting and other art media, nothing to do with the sciences, yet the arts too might be referred to as “healing” just like the healing arts these students are studying. In my classes they learn to see differently, they learn additional ways of relating to their future patients, and they learn ways to tap into their own creativity. And I know at some time, what they learn in a painting class will carry over into their careers; they will be able to use that knowledge later.

In education, students who participate in some form of the arts tend to score higher on standardized tests; they have better critical thinking and problem-solving skills, learning that there is more than one way to approach a challenge. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I could go on and on and on, but I will save some for later.

I guess you can tell how passionate I am about not just maintaining the status quo, but finding a way to better support the arts, to introduce more people to the joys of visual art, theatre, music, dance, storytelling and the like (whatever I am forgetting!). Imagine your home without pictures, your life without family stories, your world without beautiful music…it is hard to imagine, isn’t it? And wouldn’t it be barren?