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2008 – A look back on a memorable year!

What a joy it is to write a resume of Dayton’s rich arts scene.  I am so grateful that I don’t have to comment on the economy, politics or the shrinking greatness of our magnificent country.  The only thing more daunting is to have to expand my comments to include the past eight years.

Ah! the Arts.  What a joy to live amidst fine music, theater, dance and great friends. I am sensitive that my personal 401K has become a 201K. At least we can sing and dance.  Come to think of it, I can do neither!

Spending Christmas Day reviewing the articles I have written this year gave me an acute sense of joy.  I am going to share some of the highlights with you, my dear readers. Memorable comes in all shapes and sizes. The grandest extravaganzas do not dim the effects of the most intimate and lofty moments.  We had plenty of both.

Giving kudos to Dayton Opera and the Philharmonic is no surprise. Both of these great organizations give us such joy. Dayton Opera brought us a special premiere, Verdi’s Macbeth.  A rarely performed opera, Impresario Tom Bankston pulled out all the creative stops.

Dayton favorites Lester Lynch and Michele Capalbo, as the primary characters, led a stellar cast.  Our live opera coincided with the Met’s HD live video production of their Macbeth.  Believe me, ours was better. Not resting on laurels, Impresario Tom gave us Angela Brown in a stellar recital and a fabulous Turandot.

Maestro Neal Gittleman programmed and conducted an amazing panoply of great music. The range of offerings was especially inspiring. The Verdi Requiem stands out as a great memory. The William Grant Still Festival concerts were historically, musically and innovatively exceptional. Who can forget Vadim Gluzman’s incredible violin and the Tchaikovsky Concerto as you dream of hearing it!

In addition to the Classical Concerts, the Demirjian Chamber Concerts reached exceptional heights.  The music, intimate even in the vastness of the Schuster, is so special.  A chamber-sized Mahler’s 4th Symphony with Mary Elizabeth Southworth and the artistry of the Principal Quartet augmented by John Kurokawa’s clarinet were jewels.

Some events were simply unusual.  Violinist Rachel Barton Pine was to play a classical concert in February.  She arrived in Dayton along with the snows.  The musicians and most of the audience were snowed in.  Rachel played a solo recital for the hardy ones.  She returns to Dayton, hopefully without the snows, on January 16 and 17 to let us hear what we missed.

And we dance!  This year we had the beautiful Dayton Ballet dancers flying through the air in the rollicking Peter Pan. There was a Time, Dermot Burke’s choreography and Steve Winteregg’s music, made the painful Vietnam era and its anxieties clear and lucid.

Ballet repertoire is, to me, the real essence of dance.  DCDC, Gem City Ballet and Rhythm in Shoes join Dayton Ballet in giving us dance excitement and non-stop energy.  DCDC, in one evening at the Boll Theatre, could have lit the entire city with their energized six straight show-stopping dances.  Barbara Pontecorvo’s young charges brought the essence of Balanchine to us in another magical evening.

The theaters bustled with hits.  Lee Merrill directed the timeless romance, The Fantasticks, at WSU.  Mary Donahoe took Shakespeare another step into the sublime.  She directed an all-woman cast in Twelfth Night.  The intimate confines of the Herbst Theatre gave the talents of the WSU women a perfect venue to extract even more from the Bard.  Shakespeare hung around long enough for Brian Crowe and the Human Race to make it live in the modern world in their retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

Dayton Playhouse collaborated with playwright Tony Dallas to do the impossible. All three Sophocles’ Oedipus plays were performed in one weekend. An experiment, yes.  An unforgettable experience, absolutely.  

The stage of Dayton Playhouse was also shining with a performance of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  Pam McGinnis and Chuck Larkowski made us forget Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton!

Wait!  We’re not finished with musical highlights of ’08.  Vanguard Concerts makes every concert unforgettable. When Concertante came to Dayton, they brought the Martinû and Dvorák sextets into the DAI’s Renaissance Auditorium.  

Don Hageman’s Soirées Musicales does the same. Each pianist leaves an indelible mark.  This year, virtuoso pianist Ann Schein made her long awaited debut.  Don then added youth to the mix with Cedrick Tiberghein’s special piano magic.

The Miami Valley Symphony is known for exploring the standard repertory.  Last February, there was an abrupt departure.  Under the baton of James Johnston, they played Félicien David’s Le Désert.  Complete with narration and singing in mellifluous French, the work is a musical landmark.

Not all unforgettable highlights of 2008 are over and done with.  We still have until January 4th to visit the Art Institute’s marvelous exhibition, Children in American Art. The galleries are warmed by the beautiful pictures of children. It is art in the finest sense.  Don’t let is pass you by.  

Also, every single day Dayton Public Radio is unforgettable.  The continuous flow of classical music, selected by our talented and passionate on-air hosts, is one of the jewels of 2008 and the next 100 years.

We lost another work of art this year.  My favorite curmudgeon, Jack Heck, took leave of us.  Like everything in his fascinating life, he did that without permission.  He remains unforgettable and we are proud and glad to know him and his equally unforgettable Phyllis.

First Friday Gallery Hop Jan. 2

The Oregon Arts District will be holding its First Friday Gallery Hop on Jan. 2 from 5-10 p.m.  All five of the new galleries will be open including Color of Energy -  a Mike Elsas Gallery; 510 Gallery whose gallery director is Loretta Puncer; Goloka Gallery, director - Shon Walters; Visceral Gallery, director - Francine Riley; and LINK GALLERY, director - Kaye Carlile.

Ms. Carlile teaches senior high art at Oakwood High School. Her gallery represents a number of art professors from our local universities and colleges.  Many of these live in Oakwood.  Those who reside in our  community are: Glen Cebulash, professor of drawing and painting at WSU, Stefan Chinov, professor of sculpture and drawing at WSU, David Leach-professor emeritus -WSU, Sean Wilkinson, professor of photography at UD, and Joel Whitaker, Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at UD. LINK GALLERY also represents many ‘Dayton legends’ and also some ‘rising stars’. The exhibit opening on the January First Friday, UNCHAINED II, is a group show including work from all twenty-seven artists in the ‘Link family’.

There will be free RTA Trolley rides, taking people from the Oregon Arts District to the Cannery, DVAC and the Convention Center.

Culture Works cookbook now available

Culture Works is proud to announce that its community cookbook, Cooking with the Arts, is now on sale. The hard-cover cookbooks are $25 each and include a CD of jazz music that complements the wide variety of recipes.  The cookbook features over 350 recipes submitted by local restaurants, local artists, fans of Culture Works, and the community.

There is a great selection of recipes that includes drinks, appetizers, desserts, entrees, salads, breads, and more.  The recipes are organized into sections that contain information on the arts groups Culture Works supports.  The community members who contributed recipes published in the cookbook are also recognized in the book.

Proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks will benefit the Culture Works Annual Campaign for the Arts.  Cookbooks can be ordered by contacting Kristin Doore at (937) 222-2787 or emailing  Order forms are also available online at and can be filled out and mailed back to Culture Works at 126 N. Main Street, Suite 210, Dayton, Ohio 45402.

DVAC Mosaic/Chimera show until Jan. 2

The Dayton Visual Arts Center presents a Juried Members’ Show: Mosaic/Chimera, on view Dec. 5 thru Jan. 2 in the NCR Gallery at DVAC, 118 N. Jefferson St., Downtown Dayton.

DVAC members were invited to submit artwork in any media and size to be considered for Mosaic/Chimera, a themed, juried members’ exhibition dealing with how divergent parts are combined to create an integrated whole.

The DVAC gallery, at 118 N. Jefferson St., in downtown Dayton, is free and open to the public six days each week, from11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information, visit or call (937) 224-3822.

Jewelry making at Rosewood

Wirewrapping begins on Jan. 8 and is taught by Donna Kuszpa who has taught this technique since 1993. It requires a minimum of tools, no soldering and is completely portable.      

Lampwork Bead Making starts on Tuesday, Jan. 20, and is taught by Dale Smith who has worked with glass since 1977 and has been creating lamp worked beads since 2000.  Make your own beads with glass rods and a torch.

Silversmithing is offered by Sandra Picciano-Brand and David Brand, artists and teachers who have had numerous exhibitions and won awards for metal and glasswork. This class begins on March 4.

Introduction to Silver/Metal Clay starting January 20, Jewelry Making with Fine Silver/Metal Clay  on March 3 and a one day workshop Just Rings in Metal Clay on March 21 are offered by Trish Jeffers-Zeh, a Certified Senior Instructor of Precious Metal Clay and Silver Art Clay.  She has a background in sculpture, metals, glass fusing, lapidary and mixed media.

For more information, contact Rosewood Arts Centre, 2655 Olson Drive, at (937) 296-0294 or

University of Dayton January arts calendar

All events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. Open parking is available in single-letter lots after 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, after 4:30 p.m. Friday and all day on the weekend. A parking permit is required at all other times and can be obtained at the main visitor center on the University circle or parking booth at Lot C on Evanston Avenue.

For more information on all events, visit


Speed the Plow, a play by David Mamet, directed by Tony Dallas, Jan. 23-25 and 29-31. On the surface, Speed the Plow is a play about two hard-nosed Hollywood producers and their callous attempts to generate a film blockbuster. Underneath, the producers are fully engaged in that never-ending debate over the significance of art versus profit.

All performances are at 8 p.m. except Sunday Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Kennedy Union Boll Theatre. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $6 for UD students, faculty and staff. Contact the KU box office at 937-229-2545.


Faculty Artist Series: UD faculty composers, 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 11, Sears Recital Hall.

Arts Series: Curtis Barnes: A Jazz Tribute, 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, Sears Recital HallCurtis Barnes is one of Dayton’s most influential and enduring African-American painters of the second half of the 20th century, and jazz has been an enduring inspiration. In this concert, an ensemble of regional jazz musicians will play a tribute to both Barnes and other jazz greats, including Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.

The concert will help celebrate a retrospective of Barnes’ work presented by the UD visual arts department. A symposium on Barnes is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 in the Roesch Library first-floor gallery.

Tickets are $14 for general admission, $8 for seniors and UD faculty and staff, and $5 for students. Contact the box office at 937-229-2545.

Guest Recital: Victor de Almeida, principal violist with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, Sears Recital Hall.

For more information on music events, visit or call the music department at 937-229-3936.


Offerings of Glory: An Artist’s Prayer,” a watercolor exhibit on display now through Jan. 16 in the 7th floor Marian Library Gallery in Roesch Library. The exhibit features watercolor images of scenes from the life of Jesus Christ and Mary, his mother, by Minnesota artist Margaret Werlinger. The images include representations of the stations of Mary’s life and a number of images from Christmas cards.

Masks, Music, and Musings: A Retrospective Exhibition and Symposium on the Art of Curtis Barnes Sr, now through Jan. 30 at three UD locations: ArtStreet, Roesch Library and Rike Center Gallery. Recognizing Dayton native Curtis Barnes Sr. as one of the most influential artists in the region, UD art professor Judith Huacuja guided students through numerous studio visits and interviews with Barnes in 2007. The results of their research and critical essays will be included in a series of events honoring the art and teaching practices of Curtis Barnes Sr.

These events include:

• An opening reception for the art exhibit, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 8, at the Rike Center Gallery.

• Curtis Barnes: A Jazz Tribute, 8-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, Sears Recital Hall.

• “Scholars’ Symposium on the Contributions of Curtis Barnes Sr.,” 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 in the Roesch Library first-floor gallery. An array of artists will discuss the impact of Barnes’ art and teaching practices on the larger Dayton community.

The Rike Center for Fine Arts is located on the south side of B lot, and just west of Anderson center.The gallery entrance is on the lower level. Hours are Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Saturday and Sunday.

For more information contact Todd Hall, Rike Center gallery coordinator, at 937-229-3261 or

ArtStreet Friday Film Series

9 p.m. every Friday in ArtStreet Studio B screening room

Jan. 9: Hairspray. In this screen version of the Broadway musical,, pleasantly plump teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show. Nominated for three Golden Globes. Directed by Adam Shankman, 2007.

Jan. 16: City of God. This powerful true story shows the unbelievable poverty, greed, danger and crime in the Cidade de Deus — a housing project started in the 1960s that became one of the most dangerous places in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Busca-Pe is a poor black child who takes the eye of an artist to his horrific surroundings. He eventually becomes a professional photographer and attempts to capture the humanity of a seemingly inhumane existence. Directed by Fernando Meirelles, 2003. In Portuguese with English subtitles.

Jan. 23: Burn After Reading. In this dark spy comedy, an ousted CIA official’s memoir accidentally falls into the hands of two unwise gym employees intent on exploiting their find. Events spiral out of control in a cascading series of darkly hilarious encounters. Directed by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2008.

Jan. 30: Taxi to the Dark Side. This hard-hitting documentary takes a look at the inhumane practices towards U.S.-held prisoners in Bagram, Afghanistan; Abu Ghraib, Iraq; and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One specific case of an innocent taxi driver who was tortured and killed in 2002 is studied in-depth in this film that looks at both the physical aspects of torture and also the implicit approval from the highest levels of the U.S. government. Directed by Alex Gibney, 2008.

Wednesday Workshops

Visual art workshops offered 7-9 p.m. every Wednesday in ArtStreet Studio E.

Thursday Night Live

Live music at 9 p.m. every Thursday in the ArtStreet Café.
ArtStreet is located at the intersection of Lawnview Avenue and Kiefaber Street on the University of Dayton campus.

For more information about ArtStreet events, call 937-229-5101 or visit


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December 30, 2008
Volume 17, No. 53

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