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Action Group Gathering for Forbes Magazine 10 Fastest Dying Cities Symposium and Art Exhibition: Celebrating the Human Spirit.”

This meeting on  Thursday’s, May 21 meeting at 7PM at the Excelsior Loft building next to Jay’s in the Oregon District is for anyone interested in helping to organize the “Forbes Magazine 10
Fastest Dying Cities Symposium and Art Exhibition: Celebrating the Human Spirit.

Forbes Magazine “10 Fastest Dying Cities” Symposium and Art Exhibition
Celebrating the Human Spirit
August 7 – 9, 2009
Dayton, Ohio
An article in the August 5, 2008 issue of Forbes Magazine declared Buffalo, NY; Canton, OH;
Charleston, WV; Cleveland, OH; Dayton, OH; Detroit, MI; Flint, MI; Scranton PA; Springfield, MA and
Youngstown, OH as the 10 Fastest Dying Cities in America.
Looking to prove that nothing could be further from the truth, and timed to celebrate the article’s 1st
anniversary, the Forbes 10 Fastest Dying Cities Symposium and Art Exhibition is the brainchild of Peter
Benkendorf, executive director of Involvement Advocacy, and Mike Elsass, owner of Color of Energy
Gallery, both of Dayton.
Taking a page from Woodstock, Benkendorf and Elsass have declared August 7 -9, 2009 as “Three Days
of Ideas and Inspiration,” in an effort to bring together artists and activists, community leaders and
organizers, and civic-minded people from the 10 cities. Having concluded that there are amazing
people doing amazing things in Dayton, imagine the possibilities if that power were multiplied by 10!
Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin is on board and organizing is getting underway. Given the short timeline,
Benkendorf and Elsass hope to call on local contacts and institutional partners, plus the connectivity of
the internet to build a community of attendees.
In order to make the session as valuable as possible, and to attract a diversity of backgrounds, the
Symposium is being organized into five content strands. Local Action Groups will be responsible for
helping develop the substance of each, as well as getting the word out within their co-horts. The Five
Strands, and working themes are:
• Government: Role of the Public Sector as Catalyst and Resource
• Academia: The Role of Universities, Theory and Practice
• Neighborhood/Grassroots: Ideas & Inspiration
• Artist/Activists: Cross-Pollination and Showcase
• Media: The Role of Media in Saving our Cities
Friday August 7 – Check-in and opening of the Forbes 10 Fastest Dying Cities Art Exhibition, featuring
leading work from each community. Show will coincide with Dayton’s monthly First Friday of gallery
Saturday August 8 – Day-long symposium where people from each city will have an opportunity to
present some of the most innovative projects currently underway. Special interest discussion groups
will allow attendees to cross-pollinate ideas around the specific topic areas.
Saturday August 8 – Evening is the time to head out with new-found friends for dinner and
entertainment in Dayton’s vibrant night life.
Sunday August 9 – A morning session will give people time for some further sharing of ideas, a final
exchange of contact information and to some grab nourishment before heading back to our respective
communities to get on with the work at hand.

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