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Creative Incubator

Ladyfest 2.0 is coming!


Ladyfest is a community-based, not-for-profit global music and arts festival for female artists that features bands, musical groups, performance artists, authors, spoken word and visual artists, and workshops; it is organized by volunteers.

The first ever Ladyfest was conducted in Olympia, Washington in August 2000 with over 2000 people attending. The initial idea of Ladyfest came from a meeting of women who were being interviewed for the Experience Music Project’s exhibit on riot grrrl, including Allison Wolfe + Molly Neuman of Bratmobile, Natalie Cox, Tobi Vail, Bridget Irish, and others. There were tons more women involved in the day to day aspect of things – like Teresa, Maggie Vail, Kanako, Carrie B, and so on. Prime motivators in the event were Sarah Dougher, Sleater-Kinney, Cat Power, Neko Case, and Teresa Carmody.

Since the first Ladyfest, the event has branched out into other urban centres such as Amsterdam, Atlanta, Belgium, Berlin, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Brooklyn, Cambridge, Columbus, Chicago, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, Lansing, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Orlando, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Sevilla, Toronto, Washington DC, and more. Each new festival is organized locally and independently of other Ladyfest events in other states or countries, primarily by volunteers, and most proceeds are donated to non-profit organizations.

Time Band Stage
Friday, August 21
5:00-5:30 Joy Hollon Acoustic
5:35-6:05 Wetnight Main
6:10-6:35 Never quit dance crew Dance
6:40-7:10 Good English Main
7:15-7:35 Fusion Dance Crew Dance
7:40-8:10 Ashley Watson Acoustic
8:15-8:35 Belly Dancers (sandstorm/shira?) Dance
8:40-8:55 Persephone Acoustic
9:00-9:30 Abi cook and crew Main
9:35-10:05 Sandy Bashaw Acoustic
10:10-10:50 The Seedy Seeds Main
10:55-11:20 State School Acoustic
11:25-12:00 Vanity Theft Main
12:05-12:35 Kelly Campbell Acoustic
12:40-1:10 Accidentally on purpose Main
1:15-1:45 Fairy Tale Suicide Main
Close DJ

Saturday, August 22
3:00 PM-3:20 Vag Speak Acoustic
3:25-3:55 Jadis Main
4:00-4:15 Leslie N Performance
4:20-4:40 Michelle Bullock Acoustic
4:45-5:05 Miami Valley Lady Warriors Dance
5:10-5:40 Jayne Sachs Acoustic
5:45-6:10 Kira’s Oasis Dance
6:15-6:45 Paige Beller Acoustic
6:50-7:20 Drift Main
7:25-8:00 The Last Internationale Acoustic
8:05-8:35 Misunderstood Main
8:40-9:10 Little Cub Acoustic
9:15-9:45 Boombarian Main
9:50-10:10 Soulfire Tribe outside
10:15-10:45 Sarah Carey & Band Main
11:00-11:30 Jasper the Colossal Main
11:35-12:05 Becky Junker and Matt Randolph Acoustic
12:10-12:45 The Goody Two Shoes Main
1:00-1:35 Thee Pistol Whips Main
close DJ


Play for Peace: A High School Tribute to Community Tolerance and Collaboration

Part of Urban Nights. Live bands, performance art, comedy improv, visual art, spoken word, strings ensemble and more! All performers are local high school students.
Friday May 15, 2009
05:00 PM – 11:00 PM



Shaun & Abigail Bengson In Concert

Doors open at 8:00, Performance starts 9:00pm.

Fresh from their performances at La Mama Theatre in NYC, The Bengsons will perform music from both their off-broadway show & their recently released album “Six Hours.” Tickets $10 (available at the door), to support the couple’s trip to South Africa to teach theatre & music to at-risk urban teens, and Encore Theatre Co.

Visit: www.bengsons.com or www.encoretheatercompany.com for more information or contact newmusicalsETC@encoretheatercompany.com

DaytonCREATE celebrates 1st anniversary

C{space hosted a party to celebrate the culmination of the years work by the Catalysts on the five initiatives created in March of 2008. The project began with 32 volunteers, a 2 day workshop, and a goal for a year-long project to transform the community. The projects were based around Richard Florida’s 4Ts of economic development – technology, talent, tolerance and territorial assets.

A review of Downtown Plan Public Forum @ c{space

From the Feb 14th blog of  It’s Great ‘n Dayton:

Last night 80-100 (I lost count) people gathered at c{space to provide their input into the Downtown Dayton Plan.  This post is a follow up to the one I posted on Tuesday February 10th. Here’s a snapshot of what the folks at c{space had to say (I wasn’t going to list ideas that are duplicates of the prior post but I think it’s important to see when something is mentioned more than once):

  • There needs to be more support for individual artists, especially young emerging ones. This includes space to do their work and show their work.
  • More public art (which could take a variety of forms)
  • A grocery store
  • Connectable spaces that make walking feel safe while at the same time creating a sense that lots of things are happening
  • Reuse of the Arcade
  • Reuse of empty office space – perhaps creating suites that visitors/travelers could use when in town for business
  • More amenities, people, business
  • Change of PERCEPTION that downtown is unsafe – challenge to the media to be partners in this because media is part of the problem
  • As downtown boundaries expand to encompass a wider ring around the city, make sure to consider that many surrounding neighborhoods have their own visions and plans
  • A dog park (which could lead to cafes, pet food store, pet grooming, etc.)
  • More color (mentioned several times) – including flags on building, more aesthetic street lighting, more neon highlights, more green space, more plants, more things that can be painted (highway underpasses, etc.), tree-lined streets with lights strung in the trees
  • Opportunities for legitimate graffiti (and quick cleanup of illegitimate)
  • Boards and locations for wheatpasting posters and promotional materials
  • Cheap space for young entrepreneurs to do their work, share ideas/resources, this includes artists
  • A sports-plex at the old site of the Parkside Homes
  • Cultural Change Campaign
  • Connecting beyond the boundaries (75, 35, rivers, etc) – so that those boundaries “go through” but don’t “divide”
  • Opportunities for families with children (housing and activities) – some people believe this won’t happen until the public schools change/improve but the point was made that with or without a change to the Dayton public schools parents need to be involved in their kids lives and living downtown is an option
  • Various housing interests  – affordability options (perhaps consider what someone in their 20s could pay and have various options even within the same building so that a person could move from unit to unit as their income changes), needs to include parking, some open space (perhaps patios or small gardens), under 200k, something that competes with a house in Belmont or Kettering (for example), programs to help homeowners, downpayment assistance
  • Downtown daycare facility or “family center”
  • Reach out to all demographics and remember that as excited as we all are for a successful downtown there are other residents who struggle in their own neighborhoods. Thus city leaders need have a vision for the entire city.
  • For people without garages – have a place – even a shared/common one that people can use to work on their own cars
  • Whatever initiatives move forward make sure to consider “green” alternatives
  • A plug was made for the Merc. They’re ready to move forward but still need a commercial tenant as the anchor.
  • Capitalize on views of the city (getting back to color and lighting that can be viewed from high points around the city.
  • Have more family-oriented restaurants downtown.
  • Could the Habitat for Humanity model of sweat equity be a way for people get affordable housing?
  • Hockey arena
  • Monument to women pioneers
  • Competition to create fountains that could be placed around the city, capitilizing on the fact that we sit on an aquifer.
  • New ways to get from East to West because there really is no direct way (particularly getting from Salem or Main street over to the east side)
  • Encouragement for not losing momentum
  • Investment – in business, amenities, infrastructure, retail, entertainment
  • Being cognizant and inclusive of diversity
  • Housing options that keep in mind the lifestyle of baby-boomers, how they’re down-sizing and what aspects of their lives they’re likely to stay involved in (socializing, gardening, etc.) and make sure multi-floor units have elevators
  • Carriage rides
  • Murals
  • Bike lockers
  • Better care of public art and amenities that already exist so we don’t look sloppy and careless. The example that was used was the poor condition of the “Flyover” on Main Street which has tiles falling off of it, dead plants, and chunks torn from the curb from being hit by cars/plows, etc.

Just like the previous meeting the crowd was positive and full of energy. A final thought to leave you with is what one person said in the course of the meeting: We all need to personally invite people downtown. Whether it’s friends or family or people from church, if they’ve never been downtown we should bring them to a show, take them to a festival, ride with them on the bike trails, etc. Another point that was made was that many of the things being discussed are already happening other cities. People we’re trying attract to Dayton will not think these things are foreign. It’s actually local people we need to convert to think outside the box and to think BIG.

A lot of good things can come from these ideas and this plan. I wish the committee well as it prioritizes, determines what’s realistic, and figures out how to pay for it all.

There’s one more input session on Tuesday February 17th at Sinclair. For more info about it or to complete a survey online visit Downtown Dayton. You can also participate in discussions at Dayton Most Metro.

c{space First Friday Potluck Dinner

Step in from the cold during the First Friday art hop and enjoy some warm food and warm company at c{space. While you’re at it, see our extensive new ‘exhibit’ of graffiti art covering just about every wall in our 5000 square foot community creativity space. Bring something to share and $1. Refrigerator and microwaves available. Free parking behind the building.
Friday, February 6th —space open from 5-10pm, dinner from 6:30-8pm.

20 N Jefferson St in Downtown Dayton, 45402

Questions? Contact Kate

PBR Dance Party to Benefit C{Space


A PBR (yes, as in Pabst Blue Ribbon) Dance party was held at c{space last Friday night with all the proceeds going to benefit their brand new community arts space. Organizers invited all sorts of local scenesters who rsvped via Facebook and MySpace. Guests enjoyed a live locally djed dance night amidst the newly, and intensely, graffitied walls, with the latest kitchy beer of choice served up cold and canned, and lots of Crayola markers and butcher paper out for impromptu art on the fly. What more could you ask for on a January night in Dayton!

See more pics at Active Dayton!

Embrace your “marginalized” Dayton… c{space just did!

By Anne Rasmussen, Creative Incubator Team

One of the most important elements of a vibrant city is the ability of its citizens to embrace the character and diversity of expression that exists in their city’s street life. Fully functioning cities find ways to celebrate even the most marginalized parts of their population, turning what some consider civic liabilities into true community assets.

Take the shady graffiti artist for example. Often considered the bad boys of public art, graffiti artists and their work can be a frustrating and illegal source of vandalism and rebellious anti-community behavior. However, this form of art is also recognized as one of the most culturally legitimate ways for disenfranchised or marginalized members of a community to express themselves, show off their artistic talent and share their socio/political viewpoints. Moreover, their artistic style, anti-establishment flare and rebellious energy often spark the admiration and attention of much less marginalized members of the community.

In Melbourne, Australia, for example, the now famous and massively graffitied Laneways of Melbourne have become a virtual mecca for tourists, local scenesters, and celebrities alike as well as the many ordinary citizens of Melbourne who enjoy this quirky part of town. Historically, these laneways were simply the back alleys of shopping districts whose storefronts were found on the opposite sides of the buildings. However, as the back alley graffiti grew over time, it became recognized as something significant and worth showcasing. As a result, a virtual 180 degree change in perspective ensued and the alleys themselves became the focal point, with an endless maze of hip little shops, bars, cafes, and galleries springing up between the highly graffitied walls that separate them.

*A bride and groom being photographed in the Melbourne Laneways, from the ABC Documentary, “Not Quite Art” (see right sidebar).

Understanding a bit about this concept, the Dayton Creative Incubator Initiative decided to hold a uniquely “embracing” event last Sunday at c{space where they held a ten hour graffiti marathon, giving the Dayton region a chance to witness its own local and regional graffiti art. C{space’s brilliantly tapped-in event organizer Mary Kathryn Burnside called upon a talented artistic friend of hers who in turn got the word out that c{space was looking for a few “muralists” to give the space a fresh new look. And magically, like the chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins, over 25 artists from cities as far and wide as Cleveland, Indianapolis, Columbus, Louisville and Cincinnati, as well as the Dayton-Springfield area, descended on c{space by noon Sunday morning.

Armed with nothing more than tote bags full of paint cans, dressed in hoodies, masks, and baggie jeans, these merry pranksters got to work instantly, staking out walls, pulling out sketch pads and breaking out paint cans. Working independently but side by side, these artists, some of whom were old friends, and some of whom were long time rivals, spent an afternoon of artistic camaraderie, collaboration and mutual admiration in an environment unlike any in which most had ever worked…a space indoors, well lit and heated, with working bathrooms and a fully stocked fridge!

Adding to the irony, the building owner, a professional photographer, a writer and several other “outsiders” stood in awe as this artistic expression unfolded at breakneck speed. In fact, in less than 10 hours, c{space was transformed into a graffiti paradise.

By 10:00 p.m. that evening, all 25 masked men had completed their mission, packed up their supplies and disappeared into the night. Besides the amazing art on the walls, all that was left at c{space was an assortment of beer cans, water bottles, pizza boxes, and hundreds of empty spray paint cans.

Tolerance as a key to community building

Of course the question will certainly arise, “What, of substance, does Dayton gain from this day of rebellious artistic revelry?” Perhaps the most important thing Dayton gains is the comfort of knowing that on Sunday, January 18, the needle moved, if only slightly, towards a more tolerant and diverse community. And as a result of this tolerance, c{space converted itself into an indoor example of what many cities are willing to embrace outdoors in their communities – the bold expression of marginalized yet relevant people who live among them.

As a result of this amazingly spontaneous and collaborative day, c{space is now considering holding a mural design contest in an effort to bring some of this art to the outer walls of the building, is hoping to hold Wright State’s “Hip Hop and Healing” event this spring, is planning to hold a “street art/street music” event in February including break dancers and other street music, and is in a variety of discussions with other urban groups and organizations about holding events at c{space.

So, embrace your Dayton everyone! C{space did, and they now have 25 new friends who won’t be defacing the outside of their building anytime soon, at least not until c{space employs them to do so.

Inauguration Lunch Party at c{space!

Update: WYSO interviewed attendees at this party- Listen here!

The 44th President of the United States will be sworn in next Tuesday at noon…and where will you be for this historic event? Will you be sitting by yourself at your computer, or maybe with a couple coworkers in your lunch room?

If you’d rather be gathered with a crowd of good company, watching the event live and projected larger-than-life, please join us at c{space, a new community center being developed in downtown Dayton. No matter whom you voted for, you’ll be glad you did.

We’ll order pizza & provide refreshments and a side for a $5-10 dollar donation to c{space….please RSVP on Facebook or to kaervin@aol.com if you’d like pizza. (You’re also welcome to bring your lunch–we have microwaves–or even bring something to share.)

Please tell all your friends, especially those who work downtown! See you Tuesday!

Creative Incubator Starts c}space Facebook Page

The Creative Incubator team has arranged for the use of a 5,000 sq ft former bank on the eastern edge of downtown Dayton which we are calling c{space.

c{space is a center for creative community collaboration, and has already held successful events such as Ladyfest and the 50 Under $50 Arts & Crafts Bazaar in conjunction with local groups such as the Circus Creative Collective and Sarasvati Productions. Our calendar is quickly filling up, so check back for all sorts of creative community events!

Join the c}space Facebook group here!

Contact Info
Email: kaervin@aol.comm
Website: http://www.daytoncreate.org
Location: 20 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, OH 45402

Community Arts Center Anchors Revitalization Efforts

Check out “AS220,” a Providence, RI community arts center which inspires the direction of the Creative Incubator initiative:

From Creative Economy to Creative Society: A neighborhood-based strategy to increase urban vitality and promote social inclusion

Mark J. Stern and Susan C. Seifert
Can a creative economy ameliorate urban poverty? The contemporary U.S. city is witness to an increasing proportion of its residents being denied active participation in the local economy, social institutions, and broader civil society. While many a metropolis has weathered the transition from an industrial to an information-based economy, most urban neighborhoods bear the persistent physical and social manifestations of economic inequality and social exclusion.

Urban policy-makers generally agree that regional economic development and job growth are the solution to urban poverty and its associated blight and pathology. Many cities have latched onto Richard Florida’s argument that attracting the “creative class” to the region will generate jobs and tax revenue, a trickle down of benefits to all citizens. Unfortunately, it appears that growth of the creative economy can spark inequality and exclusion. Is the creative economy a bargain with the devil? Does a city have to accept increased economic inequality to reap the prosperity of the creative economy?

In this article, we recap current research and policy on culture and revitalization and propose a new model—a neighborhood-based creative economy—that has the potential to move the twenty-first century city toward shared prosperity and social integration.

The Creative Sector And Urban Policy
A focus on the creative economy represents the latest wave of interest in culture as a post-industrial urban revitalization strategy. Beginning with the 1983 landmark study by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, economic impact studies have quantified the contribution of the nonprofit cultural sector to a regional economy based on the multiplier effect of organizational and audience expenditures. In time, policy-makers realized that economic impact is magnified when bounded spatially. So the planned cultural district came into vogue, along with the development of major cultural facilities like museums or performing arts centers, as catalysts for downtown revival.

The creative economy is more than just nonprofit arts and culture. Studies by the Rand Corporation of the performing and media arts took the lead in treating nonprofit and commercial cultural firms as a single sector. Richard Florida’s work—with its claims about the role of the “creative class” in global competitive advantage—encouraged the trend to treat nonprofit and for-profit firms as a single sector and expanded definitions of culture to include design and related fields as part of the creative economy.

The excitement among public and corporate executives about the creative class has overshadowed a growing literature on the community benefits of the arts and culture. Researchers studying community-building seek to integrate their findings on grassroots cultural practices and informal arts with their understanding of contemporary urban community. Economic geographers have developed a third stream of literature, which explores production-driven “cultural clusters” and the social networks underpinning productivity. It is this cultural cluster perspective that has the greatest potential to meet the dual policy goals of economic growth and social inclusion.

Social Costs of the Creative Economy
Neither the literature on the creative economy nor that on community building has focused on possible negative effects of culture-based revitalization. Gentrification remains the most common fear. A less commonly discussed drawback of culture-based revitalization, but one for which there is more evidence, is the expansion of inequality. Economic inequality—attributed to structural changes including globalization, the decline in unions, and deindustrialization—has exploded in the United States over the past thirty years.

Of particular relevance to the arts is the emergence of “winner-take-all” labor markets. Robert Frank and Philip Cook, who developed the concept, show that changes in the U.S. labor market have expanded the number of job categories in which the most skilled members reap a disproportionate share of rewards. Frank and Cook suggest that what used to be a relatively rare feature is now common in a great number of occupations and serves to accelerate economic inequality.

Within the creative economy, artists are especially vulnerable to the winner-take-all dynamic. The handful of opera singers, concert pianists, dancers, and authors seen as the best in the world garner incomes that dwarf those of gifted practitioners who are seen as less extraordinary. Indeed, the Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP),* in a 2005 study of artists in six U.S. metropolitan areas between 1980 and 2000, found artists consistently among the occupations with the highest degree of income inequality.

Empirical research indicates that as culture increases its share of the metropolitan economy, increased inequality is a much more significant downside than gentrification. In his 2005 work, Richard Florida acknowledged that the growth of the creative class has contributed to the rise in economic inequality and its social and political repercussions. “Perhaps the most salient of… the externalities of the creative age,” Florida noted, “has to do with rising social and economic inequality.”

Still, since its publication in 2002, Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class has been used by city officials from New York to Spokane as a how-to manual for stimulating economic growth. The realization that pursuing creative class strategies will actually exacerbate the divisions between rich and poor has been slow to sink in.

The job mix within the creative economy poses concern as well as promise for its role in promoting economic revitalization. Overall, the creative industries are dominated by jobs with high educational requirements. The expansion of both arts occupations specifically and the creative economy overall will create more opportunities for highly skilled workers than for urban residents with modest educational qualifications.

Social Benefits of Community Culture
Research conducted over the past decade across the U.S. has reshaped our understanding of the role culture plays in urban communities. We now understand that culture includes nonprofit, public, and commercial organizations as well as independent artists. In addition, we have learned that even the “informal arts” play a critical role in building social networks and connections across communities.

Much work on community culture is concerned with the inclusion of historically marginalized populations. The Urban Institute has developed a broad framework for tracking community cultural vitality—which it defines as “evidence of creating, disseminating, validating, and supporting arts and culture as a dimension of everyday life in communities.” The informal arts sector, in particular—characterized by participatory, hands-on cultural and creative activities in non-chartered groups and informal settings—is associated with people of color, immigrants, and other out-of-the-mainstream communities.

Ethnographers in Chicago and the Silicon Valley have documented the community building potential of the informal arts. A recent study, for example, found that Mexican immigrants in Chicago “use artistic and cultural practices to break down social isolation, create new social networking relationships, strengthen… bonds among group members, and … create local and transnational ties with [outside] institutions…” Read More!

Leadership Dayton visits 20 N. Jefferson

Participants in the Leadership Dayton program toured various arts & culture venues on November 11, 2008. They ended the day visiting the DaytonCREATE Creative Incubator space at 20 N. Jefferson. Bill Pote gave a 30 minute presentation on the creative class theory, the DaytonCREATE initiatives and specifically the Creative Incubator project. Participants toured the space and heard about past events in the space and learned about the Creative Incubator’s future plans for the group and the space. Next, Mike Elsass gave a presentation on his Color of Energy gallery as well as the rest of the Oregon Arts District.

Participants were enthusiastic about what they learned, with many remarking that they had no idea that so many things were happening in terms of Dayton’s grassroots arts. And they were impressed by the “raw” space that had been transformed for LadyFest in September, and inquired about holding their holiday party there in December. The Creative Incubator group was happy to help expose more people to the independent arts scene in Dayton and help convince more people to embrace the urban core of Dayton – an important regional asset and epicenter of the region’s arts, culture and creative class.

Photo courtesy Andy Snow

50 Under $50 Art and Craft Bazaar: Local products, local music, local food, local people… Whew! What a relief!

In collaboration with Sarasvati and The Circus Creative Collective, DaytonCreate will be hosting an art and craft bazaar at 20 N. Jefferson St. This event will be held Friday (first Friday) December 5 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 6, from 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Organizers are expecting over 50 local vendors to participate selling original works of art and handmade craft items all priced under $50! The event will also include live local acoustic music acts (several each day) and food and beverages from local vendors.

This is a fabulous opportunity to buy original artwork at incredibly reasonable prices and a unique chance to learn about the local artisans and craftspeople who live and work in the Dayton region. Coupled with the pleasure of listening to local musicians and enjoying great food from local food and beverage vendors, this event promises to be a welcome relief from mall-madness at the height of the holiday shopping season!

Contact Mary Kathryn Burnside at mk.burnsidegmail.com to participate as a seller. Check back soon for list of committed vendors and musicians!

Kate Ervin talks territorial assets with Governor Strickland

Kate Ervin, with the Creative Incubator team, shared with Governer Strickland and Mayor McLin the need to ensure “vital urban areas and strong cultural arts scenes. We need to highlight the territorial assets of our core cities- the quality of life and amenities that a city can offer is what will attract young people to move there and stay. It’s the ballet, and the restaurants, but it’s also the emerging artists and their space needs.”

Ladyfest Dayton Rocks 20 N. Jefferson

The Creative Incubator Initiative, in conjunction with Downtown Dayton Holdings, LLC, and the support and assistance of the Circus Creative Collective, hosted the first Ladyfest Dayton, a local branch of an internationally recognized women’s arts and music festival, September 12-14. Ladyfest Dayton was the creation of three young Dayton women, Mary Kathryn Burnside, Jen Money and Jenn Breman, who saw an opportunity with Ladyfest to celebrate the talents and artistic contributions of local Dayton area women. Over 30 performing acts including acoustic musicians, break dancers, firethrowers, belly dancers, and great live bands performed over two nights. In addition, over 30 local artists displayed their visual arts in individual art spaces that each artist transformed over a period of three to four weeks to creatively house her work.

Ladyfest Dayton kicked off as a headlining event of Urban Nights, and despite the rainy weather, hundreds of festive arts and music enthusiasts streamed through the front and back doors of 20 N. Jefferson to participate in this unique event. What was once a bank, the 5000 square foot space became, for a weekend, an eclectic mix of delightful art displays, music stages, arts and crafts booths, and refreshment vendors, having been creatively repainted from floor to ceiling by the many artists who participated.

Three stages, one of which was constructed just days before the event by two men from the Dayton Theatre Guild who volunteered their services, kept back to back live music performances going throughout both Friday and Saturday nights with neither evening winding down until nearly 2:00 a.m.

On Saturday, free workshops were held including yoga, bellydancing, DJing, bike repair, Zine writing, self-defense, punk rock workout and The Womanist Movement.

The mission of the Creative Incubator Initiative is to grow and sustain emerging artists by facilitating multiple connections to their audience and community. Ladyfest Dayton was the first collaborative event that the Creative Incubator Initiative has participated in, and from the perspective of all involved, it was a huge success. Over 100 artists had the chance to perform and display their art to an audience of hundreds more while connecting with each other in an open, creative and unjuried setting. And, as a result, two local charities became the recipients of over $2000 in proceeds.

Photos courtesy of Mary Kathryn Burnside, Andy Snow and Kate Ervin

Creative Incubator Initiative to host Ladyfest Dayton at Urban Nights

The Creative Incubator initiative has partnered with the organizers of Ladyfest Dayton and Downtown Dayton Holdings, LLC to host the first Ladyfest Dayton music and arts festival Sept. 12-14. The event will be held at 20 N. Jefferson St. in downtown Dayton, and will be the first official community event held in this first floor space. Ladyfest Dayton will be a highlighted event at Urban Nights and will continue throughout the weekend with live music from local and out of town bands, visual arts displays, workshops, dance and other performance art events occurring throughout the weekend.

The organizers of Ladyfest Dayton are all local area women whose passion for art and music is rivaled only by their passion for the downtown Dayton community. Three women in particular are putting their hearts and souls into making this event an exciting opportunity for the entire Dayton community to see and experience the local music and art talent being generated from local Dayton women. Jenn Breman, Jen Money and Mary Kathryn Burnside (left to right in picture) have all contributed an enormous amount of time and energy preparing for Ladyfest including making artistic improvements to the space itself at 20 N. Jefferson. The Creative Incubator Initiative is working along-side them in an effort to provide them with some of the physical space and material needs they are faced with. In fact, the Ladyfest women have a running wish-list of items they hope to locate quickly and cheaply, and if anyone involved with DaytonCREATE would like to play Santa Claus, here’s what they are currently wishing for:

  • Stage (roughly 16 x 20 x 2)
  • Large dark curtain to mount behind stage
  • Paint
  • Paper rolls
  • Blank t-shirts
  • Carpet Remnants
  • Strings of white Christmas lights
  • Seating (folding chairs)
  • Window markers/paint
  • Sheer fabric

Please contact catalysts Anne Rasmussen at arasmussen@woh.rr.com or Kate Ervin at kate.ervin@cityofdayton.org to donate!

Many of the artists and organizers of Ladyfest Dayton have been working diligently for weeks getting 20 N. Jefferson St. ready. With grace and determination, they are transforming a very vacant space into a dynamic, albeit temporary, art and music venue. The Ladyfest women had been searching for months for an appropriate space, when Scott Soifer, a local drummer and Creative Incubator committee member, saw their need and recognized the fit.

Ladyfest is a community-based, not-for-profit global music and arts festival for female artists that features bands, musical groups, performance artists, authors, spoken word and visual artists, and workshops; it is organized by volunteers.

The first ever Ladyfest was conducted in Olympia, Washington in August 2000 with over 2000 people attending. Prime motivators in the event were Sarah Dougher, Sleater-Kinney, Cat Power, Neko Case, and Teresa Carmody.

Since the first Ladyfest, the event has branched out into other urban centers such as Amsterdam, Atlanta, Belgium, Berlin, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Brooklyn, Cambridge, Columbus, Chicago, Cardiff, Dublin, Glasgow, Lansing, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Orlando, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego, Sevilla, Toronto, Washington DC, and more. Each new festival is organized locally and independently of other Ladyfest events in other states or countries, primarily by volunteers, and most proceeds are donated to non-profit organizations.

Creative Incubator: Next Meeting; “Not Quite Art” Documentary

How does street level music and art help develop an urban community and economy?

The Dayton Creative Incubator continues to inform the Dayton community about the importance of supporting local art and music when contemplating how to re-energize a city. Take a look at this fascinating three part documentary video produced for ABC television which highlights cities that are drawing the attention of the creative class simply by allowing street level art and music to emerge and flourish in their communities:

Join us! The Dayton Creative Incubator Initiative meets the first and third Thursdays of every month at 5:30 p.m. at 20 N. Jefferson Street, first floor. All meetings are open to the public and we welcome and encourage anyone to attend. Next meeting: Thursday, September 4.

Creative Incubator Initiative hosts first Catalyst Social at 20 N. Jefferson

On Wednesday night, August 6, the Creative Incubator Initiative hosted the first catalyst social event since the DaytonCreate Project began back in March. The event was held at 20 N. Jefferson Street where the Creative Incubator Initiative has partnered with building owner Downtown Dayton Holdings LLC to provide temporary space for street level arts and music events.

The Creative Incubator team dressed up the space in hurry-up fashion, erecting tables out of sawhorses and old doors, borrowing potted flowers from backyards, throwing beer, wine and sodas into a cooler, and serving sandwiches and vegetable trays from the Dugout Deli for refreshments and snacks.

About thirty catalysts, task force members and guests were on hand to see the space in its raw state and to enjoy a bit of conversation with other catalysts. Guests were also presented with a brief YouTube video that documented a very successful and established community third place called AS220 operating in Providence, Rhode Island. This video, although highly representative of what could happen at 20 N. Jefferson, was intended more to show the process by which a community space can evolve over time, and what impact a project like this can have on the cultural revitalization of a city.

Feedback from the event was very positive, and people were excited about seeing the space and beginning to visualize the kind of community activities that could occur there. However, an important question came up more than once: How does a project like opening an arts based community third place improve the economic prosperity of the Dayton Region?

Our committee answered this very important question by explaining the process this way:

According to Richard Florida’s philosophy, street level culture is an important draw to the creative class. Young creatives are flocking to cities like Portland, Oregon and the like because there is a street level culture occurring there that is enormously attractive to them. In fact, many of these young people are going to Portland without definitive job possibilities (remember San Francisco in the 60s?) simply because of this exciting, idealistic, bohemian culture.

As just one link in the chain of things that draws and retains creative talent, this is the primary focus of the Creative Incubator Initiative. Our efforts speak to at least three of the T’s that Florida emphasizes:

  1. Tolerance: If we can create a downtown that is tolerant of artistic, diverse, youth culture, we will be providing the “fun” that creatives demand from their local environment.
  2. Territorial Assets: If we can revive the popularity of enjoying authentic territorial assets (i.e. cool downtown buildings, raw spaces, public squares, old architecture, etc.) we will attract a smarter more sophisticated populace to the downtown area.
  3. Talent: If we can provide a location where tolerance meets cool territorial assets, we will create a “scene” where smart, creative talent hangs out, converges, melds and begins the cycle of creativity that is necessary to retain such talent.

So, how does a space like 20 N. Jefferson begin this process? Well, it draws the attention of the high bohemians first, by giving them a physical space to perform and interact. Through the support of our initiative, we also provide them with a broader audience and stronger logistical support then they would have operating by themselves. For example, DaytonCreate can help ensure that LadyFest is recognized by a broader audience because of our involvement, as will many other events and activities that could go on there.

How does a space like 20 N. Jefferson happen without an infusion of big funding? It happens slowly and sequentially. You start by generating energy in a raw space the way we are starting to draw energy to 20 N. Jefferson. You hold some events, you get some enthusiasm and buy-in. You get some enthusiasm and buy-in, you hold some more events, and you get more energy, enthusiasm and buy-in. You get enough energy and buy-in, and you get people who want to get involved as entrepreneurs. And entrepreneurship breeds economic prosperity faster and better than any foundation or endowment ever could.

The entire Creative Incubator committee believes strongly in the successful outcome (with metrics and all) of this initiative because it speaks directly to so many of the things that young creatives are seeking in life. If downtown Dayton could become a playground for the creative class, the creative class– with all its idealistic youth, energy, vitality, intelligence and humor– would come out to play. And where the creative class is drawn to play, they’re also drawn to work, and they tend to make and spend a fair amount of money.

Creative Incubator To Vitalize Vacant Downtown Space; Next Meeting Scheduled

20 N Jefferson Street Community Space

The Dayton Creative Incubator Initiative is in discussions with Downtown Dayton Holdings, LLC, owner of the building at 20 N. Jefferson Street in downtown Dayton with the intention of leasing and utilizing the first floor space for community events and activities. This space is approximately 5000 square feet, and currently is in a rough condition, but will be prepared to hold temporary exhibits, events and activities.

DaytonCREATE Catalyst/Initiative Team Member Social
Wednesday, August 6, 5:30 – 7:30, 20 N Jefferson Street Community Space

The first event the Creative Incubator is holding at 20 N. Jefferson St. is a social for catalysts and initiative team members to come together for a relaxing, fun evening of information sharing and socializing. We hope this event will be the first in a series of monthly socials that will help catalysts and initiative team members from all five initiatives connect with each other on a regular basis. We’ll have food, wine, music and lots and lots of chatter. If you are a catalyst or active initiative team member, we’ll see you then!

Dayton Ladyfest
September 12-14, 20 N Jefferson Street Community Space

The Dayton Creative Incubator Initiative is in discussions with a group of local women who are in the process of planning the first Dayton Ladyfest. The Initiative, through our relationship with Downtown Dayton Holdings, LLC is planning to provide Dayton Ladyfest with the venue (20 N Jefferson Street Community Space) to hold this three day event. Ladyfest will be an official participant of Urban Nights and is planning live music performances, art exhibits and daytime workshops throughout the entire weekend.

Dayton Creative Incubator Committee Meeting

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Dayton Creative Incubator Committee will be held at 20 Jefferson Street on Thursday, July 31 at 5:30.

Creative Incubator Update: PowerPoint from 90 Day Check-In

You can see each slide from the Creative Incubator’s update full size here.

Dayton Creative Incubator Develops Map of Dayton’s Cultural Resources

The Dayton Creative Incubator Group is developing a map of Dayton’s cultural resources, and they seek your feedback!

Please suggest locations to include– and any other ideas– in the comments area. The Creative Incubator team appreciates your help.

Note: Click on the map then choose “Download Picture” in the right sidebar to zoom in and scan the image.

Dayton Creative Incubator: The First Check-In

This is a portion of the powerpoint given by Kate Ervin and Anne Rasmussen at the first “check-in” for the catalysts and other members of DaytonCREATE, the umbrella of the five initiatives which resulted from SOCHE’s hosting of the Creative Class group in the region.

Explore the links in the sidebar to find out more about SOCHE, the project’s generous sponsors, and Richard Florida’s Creative Class Group. You will also find links to our ongoing press coverage.

To see these slides full size, click HERE!

Dayton Creative Incubator Update

Dayton Creative Incubator


As part of the Dayton Creative Region Initiative- DaytonCREATE- the Dayton Creative Incubator project is one of five initiatives established in March of 2008 to help the Dayton region improve its economic prosperity and create an environment of improved livability.

The Dayton Creative Incubator project was established to respond to the idea that thriving, economically prosperous regions are successful because they attract and retain the largest number of people and businesses involved in the “creative economy,” the fastest growing and highest paid sector of the U.S. economy.

To attract this talent base, a successful region needs three important things: tolerance: a supportive environment for diverse self-expression; technology: accessible mechanisms for people to turn their talent into market or public goods; and territorial assets: quality of place.

Put simply, economically prosperous regions attract a solid talent base by providing an economically and culturally stimulating environment where people feel comfortable being themselves, can find outlets for their self-expression, can convert their talent into money easily, and feel surrounded by an authentic sense of place.

It is the goal of the Dayton Creative Incubator project to support primarily the cultural elements of this equation. Specifically, the mission of the Dayton Creative Incubator project is to improve the attractiveness of the Dayton region by supporting the authentic cultural and artistic assets (both human and built locations) that exist here.

Needs of the Community

Economically prosperous and sustainable regions have authentic cultural communities residing in their core cities. The stronger the sense of authentic culture and place, the more attractive it is to the creative class. It is essential that the Dayton region do everything it can to improve its core authentic cultural community.

Tolerance and Diverse Self-Expression

There is an essential need to develop a tolerant community particularly in the core city where authentic self-expression, artistic experimentation and creative interaction can occur regularly and unrestrictedly. Creative class people are inherently attracted to other creative class people and they routinely seek out experiences that put them in physical contact with other creatives. Creative class people work while they play, while they eat, while they dance, while they socialize. Few barriers divide the elements that constitute a typical creative person’s life. Providing for this blending of work/play is an essential need for the creative class community.

Territorial Assets – Creating an authentic sense of place

Creative class people spend a significant portion of their time in physical locations where they can connect with other creatives. These locations are commonly referred to as third spaces. Third spaces are defined as gathering locations that are not work spaces or home spaces (first and second spaces). They are locations where people come for work and play, to express themselves, to meet other people and to participate in their community.

Third spaces are an essential need of a vibrant creative class community. The more authentic these third places are, the more attractive they will be to the creative class. (Example: independently owned restaurants, not chains; independent film theaters, not megaplexes). The most attractive third spaces typically reside in the core city where the most authentic territorial assets (i.e. built spaces) exist. There is a significant need for the Dayton region to revitalize its downtown territorial assets and to provide authentic third spaces for creatives to utilize and enjoy.

Preliminary Project Scope

The Dayton Creative Incubator project scope is as follows:
What: The Dayton Creative Incubator project is an initiative that hopes to improve the authentic cultural community in Dayton by developing a process to help facilitate and promote three intertwined cultural “scenes” in Dayton: music, visual arts, and performing arts.
This initiative will be limited in scope to supporting local, emerging, independent artists.
In conjunction with supporting these three scenes, the Dayton Creative Incubator project intends to highlight and promote territorial assets (built locations) that have the potential for becoming venues.

How: The Dayton Creative Incubator project will create a process for supporting these scenes and connecting them to built spaces after a significant amount of stakeholder research takes place. The research plan includes the following:

  • Interviewing as many stakeholders as possible (artists, musicians, venue owners, building owners, developers) and evaluating their needs.
  • Researching arts incubators and other approaches to improving music and arts scenes.
  • Visiting/researching other successful cities.
  • Hosting at least three forum events downtown to bring together stakeholders for each of the scenes, plus a final meeting to present our findings to key decision-makers/community leaders.

The Dayton Creative Incubator project’s short term goal for this year is to serve these three scenes by connecting the dots, per se, so that that a logical process for improving, supporting and promoting these scenes can begin to unfold.

Where: This initiative will focus on the Dayton core city, specifically the areas at the eastern edge of downtown (Oregon, Merchants Row, Jefferson) that are more human scale, pedestrian oriented and have more potential to be thriving cultural districts.

Metrics: After completing our research and holding the three forum events, the committee will write three “plans for implementation,” one for each of the scenes.
These plans will include:

  • The type and scope of support we can give to each of these scenes.
  • Who the stakeholders are in each scene.
  • How we can connect them to community leaders who hold other stakes in improving the downtown community.
  • We will then present our findings to these key decision-makers in a large, multimedia event.

Volunteers are encouraged to contact Kate Ervin: 937.554.8865 or kate.ervin@cityofdayton.org

rifle scopes