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Ladyfest Dayton Rocks 20 N. Jefferson


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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

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