From local plays to ballet and music, it continues to wow me just how many arts programs are active around Dayton. Says Martine Collier, President and CEO of Culture Works, her non-profit organization is here to help both performer and audience member in the quest to make Dayton arts great.
From local plays to ballet and music, it continues to wow me just how many arts programs are active around Dayton.
Even for the most ardent connoisseur of the arts, it may be hard to keep track of all that's going on.
Says Martine Collier, President and CEO of Culture Works, her non-profit organization is here to help both performer and audience member in the quest to make Dayton arts great.
Dayton Local: How did Culture Works get started?
Martine Collier: "Culture works has gone through a lot of changes. In 1974 the Dayton Performing Arts fund was founded and it was basically three organizations at the time, the philharmonic, the opera and the ballet. A few years later they changed their name to Arts Dayton and broadened their scope of funding to a number of other arts organizations in the community."
"In 1992 Montgomery County did a cultural plan, and the two things that came out of the plan were the Victoria Theatre and recommendation that Arts Dayton merge with the Miami Valley Arts Council, which was an arts service agency here. At that time, Culture Works was formed from them, with the dual functions."
DL: What services does Culture Works provide?
MC: "We serve for the entire region as an umbrella arts agency for Dayton. We publish a guide to arts and cultures in the Dayton region which we publish online with a list of different activities."
"Our website is a portal to arts and culture. You can find information about the various organizations there, we also support a community cultural calendar so you can figure out what's going on in arts and culture."
"We serve a larger marketing function in terms of promoting the totality of what's in Dayton to a national constituency which can assist human resources directors when they're relocating and trying to sell the region. The arts and culture we have here is so rich and unique, that's a real tool for economic development."
"We also provide a campaign for the Arts each year. It's a united arts fun. We do workplace giving, going to a little over 70 sites where companies let us come in and we do performances for their employees and promote the value of arts and culture. We try and get them to participate as audience members and we hope they will support the fund. We are the biggest provider of general operating support to some of the major arts organizations in the community."
DL: What kind of arts are around the city that people might not know about?
MC: "We've made a lot of national news in our arts this year, with them merger of the philharmonic, the opera and the ballet, which is the first merger of its kind in the country. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is internationally known. The Human Race Theater Company not only does a new play project and musicals project, it does a lot of new work and brings in wonderful artists from all around. Of course the Victoria is a presenting theater, they bring in many nationally recognized touring shows."
"All of the organizations have very active and aggressive arts education programs. The schools can't always afford the arts part of things with budget cuts so this helps students get experiences and exposure at an early age which is very important. MUSE Machine is quite unique as an arts education delivery service provider. They go into 10 counties. The Dayton Arts Museum of course is major."
"We have incredible choral groups from Box Society, Musica, the Gay Men's Chorus…it's just a very rich cultural ecosystem. All of the organizations regardless of size or budget provide something. We need them all, large and small."
DL: How can people contribute?
MC: "They can go to our website and they can donate there or look at the calendar there and find organizations to be affiliated with or volunteer at Culture Works. The best thing to do is go to the website or give us a call."