Stumbling across your neighbors-

I was prepping to write something about Richard Florida’s visit- when I stumbled upon a neighbors comment on his site. Thought it was worth throwing up here for discussion-

The Creativity Exchange: Who’s Your City? Share a Story for the New Book
I currently live in Dayton, OH. I did not choose the city, but I like living here. I am an academic, and this is where my dream job happened to be. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and Dayton is a small version of Pittsburgh…industrial, working-class sensibility, beautiful old architecture.

There are some pros and some cons to living here. I can afford a beautiful old Victorian because housing is cheap and taxes are relatively low. I am about an hour from 2 bigger cities, Cincinnati and Columbus. There are some decent ethnic restaurants, an arts scene,and a real chance to make a difference because it isn’t an overwhelmingly huge place. For some reason, if you like antiques, this place is a mecca for that. I’m a lesbian, and my partner and I live next to a woman who is in a band that has national acclaim (we joke that by “Creative Class” standards, we are together raising our neighbor’s property values:) There are worse places to be gay, but it ain’t no San Francisco either.

The cons are that the economy is bad, the place is being overrun by chain stores and restaurants, the downtown is pretty much deserted. We just built one of those suburban malls that look like town centers. So the downtown is abandoned so people can imitate it in the suburbs…makes no sense to me.

Personally- I don’t think that being a lesbian or gay makes you part of the “creative class”- or any other special aura, but I do agree with Florida that tolerance is key to an areas ability to grow.

Without tolerance for peoples differences- or new ideas- we are doomed. Often Dayton suffers from a “herd mentality”- that you need a herd to be heard- free thinkers, provocateurs and instigators aren’t very welcome here. We need to change that.

Unanimous decisions aren’t the goal- change is, and if some people aren’t kicking and screaming along the way, we probably aren’t changing fast enought to not get run over by Darwin.

More on the concepts of the Creative Class later.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog, please head over and use our services at The Next Wave Printing for all your printing needs. We have 4 Color Business cards starting at just $13.50.

11 Responses

  1. Greg Hunter March 4, 2007 / 7:17 pm
    Thanks for the link and it was an interesting story.

    The G&L are probably more creative because they are not part of the Creation Class.

    It was interesting to see the Dayton leadership trumpet the high ranking the Metro region receives on the Creative Index, while totally missing the point about tolerance or openness.

    I spoke to Mr. Florida after the presentation and he indicated that Dayton’s lack of tolerance is reflected in the high degree of sprawl. It is easier to spread over farm land than to accept the socio economic differences of our fellow planetary inhabitants.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Jeff March 4, 2007 / 8:07 pm
    That gay angle in Florida’s work is really a just a statistical correlation and is not a key part of his argument. People get too hung up on that.

    [quote]I spoke to Mr. Florida after the presentation and he indicated that Dayton’s lack of tolerance is reflected in the high degree of sprawl.[/quote]

    That is an interesting concept. It might be reflective of what happened here in the 1950s and 60s, more, perhaps?

    Huber Heights built as a place for white flight from, say, Westwood?

    How much of a correlation between the urban sprawl of that era with white flight form the city?

    Today, I don’t think so. Beavercreek is probably the quintessential sprawl suburb, but it also has the Hindu temple and will be getting the new mosque.

    Do people here really think the social climate in Dayton is intolerant? I think the people here are probably more tolerant than we give them credit for.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Greg Hunter March 4, 2007 / 9:28 pm
    Today, I don’t think so. Beavercreek is probably the quintessential sprawl suburb, but it also has the Hindu temple and will be getting the new mosque.

    Do people here really think the social climate in Dayton is intolerant? I think the people here are probably more tolerant than we give them credit for.

    Well Jeff if you look at the price the African Americans paid over the years to achieve equality in contracting through the 8a Minority Set Aside program and then look at the companies that actually benefited from the programs it would be an interesting exercise.

    Why not pick out the African American owned companies in the Dayton area that are on this list.

    Then go through the list and find out which companies were started by sub continent Asians (Indians) and then figure out which company had a US Congressman as its Chief Legal Council. If you get the right answer then figure out who built and developed the Beavercreek Golf Course and who owns JMD Development.

    Money and lots of it buys a great deal of tolerance.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Drexel Dave March 4, 2007 / 10:04 pm
    A bit off of the subject, but here’s for stumbling across neighbors. Video from a house party yours truly and some other blogger I know attended. Fun time. I hope this lets me embed youtube stuff?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Drexel Dave March 4, 2007 / 10:33 pm
    Dearest of folks, in case you weren’t able to make it out to the big show featuring drexel and The Sheds, with the miracle of digital video technology, you can do the next best thing to beging there: attend the show online!

    So, without further adieu, I give you fine folkestry, videos from last night’s wonderful time at a house in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Dayton.

    Drexel Performs “The Lingerer”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86OxUdCyGqI

    A video cam music fan tour: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3SbBGskW1E

    women at drexel shows are beautiful, what else is there to say?:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhHvqoQu6us

    The Sheds: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdCiSjWiXqs

    Drexel performing the song from their upcoming video and DVD, Tenacious D
    Licks BUTT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJm2-xBntNE

    An interview of Cameron from The Sheds by me:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJm2-xBntNE

    An interview of me, by Cameron of The Sheds:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBCBStonN9I

    I’ll be posting more as they come in.

    Take care, and we hope to see you at our next house show here in Dayton, as we host Lexington, Kentucky’s Quiver of Jasper. Think Joe Cocker from Eastern Kentucky!

    Listen to ’em right here: http://www.myspace.com/quiverofjasper

    Take care,

    Drexel Dave, Drexel Brian and the entire damn Drexellian Nation!

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. PhotoJim March 5, 2007 / 9:11 am
    “Often Dayton suffers from a “herd mentality”- that you need a herd to be heard- free thinkers, provocateurs and instigators aren’t very welcome here. We need to change that.”

    That’s my favorite line in the letter. Amen, amen, amen. I couldn’t agree more.

    I’ve got some insight as to the country club crowd that permeates the south suburbs. Another word for the “herd” is cronies. However, looking how the artsy set in downtown is thoroughly dominated by the trial lawyer clique, I’d have to say they aren’t much better.

    All of us need to change. The old ways of conducting business in Dayton can no longer be accepted.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Drexel Dave March 5, 2007 / 11:58 am
    A good friend of mine who is an artist/blacksmith (did the gates at Cocoa’s – great guy) summed it up once when giving me a compliment on my art work. He said (and I agree mucho) that artists in Dayton (he was referring particularly to some gallery associated with the Urban Nights thing) tried very, very hard to not be from Dayton, especially in their art work.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Jeff March 5, 2007 / 4:20 pm
    Artists do the art that they want to do, and it doesnt have to be from or about a geographic “place”.

    And the artists might not be from Dayton either, having moved here from elsewhere.

    From what I saw of the galleries & studios at Urban Nights I can see some of these artists have relyied on out-of-town showings and galleries, probably because, until recently, there was nearly no place in town to show. And there is the issue of patronage, too; local collectors and art fans willing to buy local work.

    The fact that there even ARE artists working in Dayton is somewhat of a surprise, given how invisible they have been.

    For an alternative approach there is the example of Louisville, which had developed a network of patrons and galleries to support the local artists, and local media features this scene quite a bit, too.

    The big event in the fall in Louisville has long been the St James Court Art Fair, in an old neighborhood south of downtown. This event brings in out of towner artists as well as locals.

    A bit less known (as it’s brand new) is the Good Folk Festival, which is about folk and outsider art, and also music..the organizer had folk- and folk=related bands and performers at a local music club as well a the art:

    http://www.junkabilly.com/goodfolkfest/

    Recently the local arts community took another step forward with the conversion of an old meatpacking plant into a big gallery space…Mellwood Arts Center.

    You can link to the Mellwood page here:

    http://www.mellwoodartcenter.com/

    For those who say “never happen in Dayton”, Louisville and Dayton metro areas are around the same population range, so theoretically there should be about same pool of artists, perfomers, and patrons/audience in both cities.

    I think it just hasn’t been developed enough here in Dayton, yet.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Drexel Dave March 5, 2007 / 7:09 pm
    I wasn’t talking about doing art about Dayton. I suppose it’s an artist/talk/vision thing.

    Anyways, there are artists working in Dayton and doing business elsewhere because you can get a lot of space for a little price here. Detroit has one of the nation’s best art scenes. Ghettos breed art for sure.

    Got invited to do that Louisville show, but was already booked in Detroit. I am marking the date for it next year on my calendar to do.

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. John Ise March 7, 2007 / 1:21 pm
    I’m a fan of Richard Florida. From listening to his radio interview re. Dayton on WYSO, I came away with:

    1) the need for Dayton to start operating and acting regionally;

    2) Deal with the “squelchers” who thrive off of pessimism and squelching any new, creative initiative. Too many in Dayton already.

    3) Become welcoming and open to immigrants. There’s plenty of ready-to-work, entrepenurial immigrants from Latin America and other places who could re-populate Dayton neighborhoods and really re-energize the city. As with gays, is Dayton a welcoming, tolerant environment?

    The big question is who will organize and mobilize the Richard Florida fans in Dayton into a constituency who will activate change?

    Brilliant or Bozo? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *