I am adding a new category that is composed of columns I wrote a few years ago for a local magazine, in which I imagine artists of different time periods coming together in a coffeehouse on Paris’ Left Bank. I think of it as “out of time”, meaning that these are artists from all different centuries who when they enter “Pablo’s Coffeehouse” can encounter any artist from any time. I only wrote a few of these, but I enjoyed doing it, and so I will add them here, unedited, beginning with the first one.



Introductory Note: This column, written by Dayton artist Marsha Monroe Pippenger, imagines a Paris coffeehouse of the 1920’s or 30’s where artists congregate for coffee and animated conversation. As in any animated exchange, the conversation rambles, covering unrelated topics, random thoughts, and current gossip, but always centered on the really important issue: ART.


Pablo’s Coffeehouse

Where artists meet


Imagine. An obscure coffeehouse in early 20th century Paris…tucked away down a narrow side street on the Left Bank, crumbling steps leading down into a small, dark space, pungent with the aroma of strong coffee and flaky pastries. Picture now the patrons inside…Pablo Picasso, a small, square, stubborn but extremely talented Spanish expatriot painter, Georges Braque, another talented artist and contemporary of Picasso, the writer George Bernard Shaw, the musician Igor Stravinsky, and nameless others: writers, artists and musicians. Hands gesture wildly and voices collide as they converse in animated fashion.


This is Pablo’s Coffeehouse, where artists meet.


A vastly unusual coffeehouse, as you will notice. Not only do Picasso and others of his time gather here to trade ideas and opinions, but others too, artists of other eras, both past and future, artists traveling in and out of time. Let’s listen in…

Picasso questions the state of art in Dayton


Ah, says Braque, art in Dayton, Ohio is good and abundant, but few people seem to notice. There are many talented artists in Dayton! Dayton’s artists are so accomplished, yet the public, the people seem unaware.  I do not know why…perhaps we do not help them. Perhaps Parisian artists are thought better than Dayton artists. It’s not so! Picasso you should see the work…it is so fine. There are beautiful galleries; there is sculpture by the artist Fordyce; glass by Chapman; paintings by Davis, Benedetti, Marcus and others, pottery and photography and mixed media and fiber and much much more! One finds unusual work, contemporary work, new ways of thinking. It is a mecca of creativity! You must go to Dayton and see for yourself.


Stravinsky chimes in, noting that the art is as fine as the music scene in Dayton, but seems to be less known. Picasso snorts. Dayton is not Paris, he scoffs.


That is exactly right! Braque and Stravinsky shout back. It is not Paris and it should not be Paris. It is an original all to itself! They should be proud there. Picasso stomps out, muttering.


Ah well, Braque shrugs. He is a stubborn Spaniard!


Pablo’s Graffiti: “People don’t realize what they have when they own a picture by me. Each picture is a phial with my blood. That is what has gone into it.”


Word of Mouth: Chiaroscuro

(key-are-a-scur-o); the treatment of light and dark in a painting or drawing to create an illusion of depth. Look up the artist Caravaggio for beautiful chiaroscuro. Doesn’t the word just roll off your tongue? Use it this week and impress your co-workers.


Art Flies: Take note of the increase of flight inspired art around town since the Inventing Flight celebration. It is time for Dayton to trumpet its aviation heritage, and nothing says it better than art. The obvious pieces to note are the new Wright Brothers statue at Deeds Point, the 1905 Flyer on Monument Avenue, and the love-it or hate-it sculpture Flyover on Main St. Look for the Wrights’ bowler hats in various locations around – let us know where you find them!


Check the new overpass walls on I-70.  They’re embossed with airplanes. Look down as you approach the Air Force Museum on Harshman Road – there are airplanes painted on the road to lead you in! Aviation history and aviation art, something for all Daytonians to take pride in.


Found Art: Take a look for more flight related art at The Dayton Art Institute – the new outdoor sculpture by John Safer and show inside, through September 21. Check Oakwood for the new piece by local artist and musician Michael Bashaw, located at Patterson Road and Shafor Boulevard.


Today’s message: Look for art by Daytonians. It’s all around you and it’s good.


See you next time at Pablo’s Coffeehouse. Later.