Emceed by morning meteorologist Jamie Jarosik with a special appearance by the acappella group Eleventh Hour.
- Hands-on activities, crafts and experiments
- The Kids BookMobile
- The Batmobile with Batman and Robin
- Curious George, The Cat in the Hat, Heater and Gem from The Dayton Dragons and costumed Star Wars characters
- The Zoot Theatre Company puppets
- Music by DJ Dan Edwards
- An active zone with hula hoops, jump ropes, Frisbees, bubbles and bikes
- A Book Swap for all ages, plus more!
- Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission teaching bike safety
- Humane Society of Greater Dayton showcasing pet adoptions
- Boonshoft Museum of Discovery meeting animals up close
- Muse Machine – leading active story and dance
- Ohio Virtual Academy and Chaminade Julienne High School – getting hands on with STEM labs and slime
- Rosewood Arts Center – exploring comic book art
- ThinkTV – PBS Kids Island
- Time Warner Cable – science behind cotton candy
- Dayton Mom-Spot Blog – book and swag bag giveaways
- Welcome Dayton – language activities
- Prevent Blindness Ohio – coloring and eye health
- EarthFare – Sun Safety
- Yo-Yo demonstrations, break dancing and the national Rubik’s Cube champion
Welcome to our new column for urban volunteer opportunities! I’ll be posting all kinds of ways to get involved in city neighborhoods – from hand-on service to crowdfunding to fun community-building events – so if you have items for submission e-mail me or add them to our Facebook group!
Have you driven on Wayne Avenue downtown and wondered what that raucous splash of color was by the railroad tracks? Or maybe you’re a regular at the many frequent events occurring at this two-acre community art park, such as the weekly Sunday Market or ‘Free Music First Friday.’ Launched in 2008 as an initiative of the Dayton Circus Creative Collective, Garden Station is now a stand-alone organization led by Lisa Helm with a small crew of volunteers. It is an “urban hub where the Dayton community can come together to enjoy art, campfires, festivals, movies, concerts and community gardens.” They always need help on Saturday work days throughout the growing season, and this week, they are holding Wine and Weeding Wednesday to get spruced up for Urban Nights. The garden’s current fiscal sponsorship agreement expires on September 14 and its estimated monthly costs are $300, so they’d love if you made a tax-deductible donation before Friday! Or if you don’t fancy yourself a philanthropist, you can still give by eating at Blind Bob’s on the first Monday of the month and mentioning Garden Station Night. For more information, follow their page or e-mail Lisa.
- Guide our county’s future: Montgomery County is asking citizens to give input through a series of public forums. The topic for Tuesday, Sep. 11th is “Where Do We Stand vs. Other Communities?” Seen any great ideas in other areas that you’d like to bring back here? Chime in!
- Show your art on downtown streets: Activated Spaces, the Downtown Dayton Plan’s joint project of Generation Dayton and updayton, is conducting a final call for submissions for art to fill downtown storefronts. Artists will appreciate that they’re printing the art on vinyl window clings this time, making installation much easier! Click here for more information and to apply by the September 14th deadline.
- The November library levy (Issue 70) includes an “upgraded main library that will be a regional information, reading and cultural attraction for downtown Dayton.” Their online volunteer form asks for help with phonecalls, going door-to-door, endorsers, poll greeters, and public speakers.
- Bike sharing for downtown was recently a hot topic of discussion in our group, and we learned that Bike Miami Valley is exploring the idea. Fill out their brief online survey to share your thoughts on a ‘smart bike’ system!
- Which urban neighborhoods are on Facebook? Several years ago, DMM publisher Bill Pote and I led a training at City Hall to get more neighborhoods on social media. Let us know how far we’ve come by adding to my running list.
- Urban Nights: Still a few more slots availablefor volunteers!
- Clean up North Main Street: Volunteer help is needed for cleaning up litter and overgrown vegetation; supplies such as gloves, brooms and bags are provided. Saturday, Sep. 15, 8:30am-1pm, 2141 N. Main St. For more information, contact FROC Priority Board Coordinator Verletta Jackson at 333-3288 or e-mail her.
- Demo Day at the Fifth Street Brewpub: Meet at the community-owned brewpub (1600 E Fifth) at 10 am, Saturday, Sep 15 to demo the interior of the brewhouse. Email them if you can make it so they can plan accordingly (e.g: buy enough beer)
- Community-Police Action Planning: Learn about community-police relations, give feedback, and sign up for volunteer opportunities at the Dayton Community Police Council’s Community Day Party. Saturday, Sep. 15 11am-3pm, Convention Center.
- Help make peace in Dayton neighborhoods: The Dayton Mediation Center is looking for volunteer mediators to attend upcoming trainings and commit to helping with conflict resolution. More details can be found here.
- Adding color to Xenia Avenue: Over 170 volunteers participated in the year-and-a-half long mosaic mural project led by K12 Gallery for Young People in partnership with East End Community Services Corporation. The finished project can now be seen at 504 Xenia Ave. Like K12’s page to get involved in future projects! The new mosaics decorate the facade of the future location of the Corner Cupboard Charities thrift store, a volunteer-run organization that raises money for other local nonprofits. Check them out!
- DDR volunteers rocked it!: Over 200 volunteers came out to support the Downtown Dayton Revival Music Fest this past weekend and a good time was had by all.
- Invest in the city through real estate! Theresa Gasper of Full Circle Development, LLC recently shared some amazing before-and-after pictures of the homes she and partners have transformed in the Historic South Park neighborhood, an area which saw a 23% value increase in the last reappraisal. There are plenty of great urban realtors who would love to get you started!
- First Friday Park Planters: A dozen volunteers organized through our Facebook group planted about 40 shrubs and perennials at a little downtown park on Friday night before exploring First Friday together. This was made possible by a grant that volunteer Brian Ressler obtained from Keep Montgomery County Beautiful. Thanks everyone!
Matt Kish presents “Moby-Dick In Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page”
The legendary 19th-century novel Moby-Dick, or The Whale, is a story of obsession. No one, perhaps, understands that obsession quite so well as a Dayton librarian who spent 543 days creating an illustration for each of Moby-Dick’s pages – and now has the published book to prove it.
Matt Kish, who lives in Columbus, describes the closing months as brutal: “Those final 100 or so pages, when the book itself becomes pretty bleak, I had no personal time whatsoever, and I knew the only way I was going to get my life back was to finish this project.
“The only way through it was to symbolically kill the whale myself. I isolated myself, because I felt I had to save every available ounce of energy for the project. I became just as obsessed with finishing the project as Ahab was with the whale. Thankfully, my wife stayed with me.”
The final drawing emerged Jan. 29, his book contract was completed, and now the only obsession in Kish’s life is dealing with the incredible publicity his project has generated.
“I’m simultaneously excited by it all and overwhelmed and exhausted,” he says.
A whale of a response
How much publicity? Starting just a few days into the project, his posts to a daily blog for friends and family began to be featured on literary and art websites and talked about all over the globe. In December 2009, he was invited to speak about his work in New York.
Within days, even though he hadn’t even reached the halfway mark of the book, he was approached by an agent who almost immediately landed him a publisher.
“It started slow, but then things happened with dizzying speed,” Kish recalls. “This incredibly personal exploration of the novel suddenly had a contract and a deadline.”
He speculates that there’s three reasons for the powerful response.
“Moby-Dick is a cultural touchstone. Even people that haven’t read it, they know the whale, they know Ahab, they know Ishmael, they know that it ends tragically. It’s part of our cultural consciousness. It’s really an American myth.”
The second reason? Kish is not a formally trained artist. Yet his bold, unusual style is immediately gripping, conveying a raw emotional presence with every image. Some pieces are abstract, others intensely detailed. He used spray paint, brushes and ink, ballpoint pens, colored pencil, acrylics, collage, markers, stickers. The quickest took 30 minutes, others took up to 12 hours.
“I know if my work was to be critiqued, there are long lists of errors and completely missing blocks of an art foundation,” Kish says. “I didn’t even attempt to make my illustrations historically accurate. It’s very much about my life, my perspective – it’s influenced by video games I played in the ’80s, comic books from my childhood, covers of progressive rock albums from my dad’s basement. So it’s something that’s never been seen.”
The third reason? The sheer insanity factor of anyone taking on such a monster project.
“Monster” being the key word. Kish says his lifelong passion for Herman Melville’s 1851 novel began around age 5, when he saw a film version of the story.
“The movie monsters were fictional, but this grabbed me,” he says. “This was a monster that could almost have been real.”
An illustrated children’s version of the story was his next encounter with the white whale; he read the full novel for the first time in junior high. Seven more trips through the book would pass before he started the project.
“What’s odd is that each time I read it, it’s shown me things that almost seem to echo or parallel things happening in my own life — the complexities of growing up and growing old and dealing with life,” Kish says. “In some ways, really grappling with that book requires some life experience.”
“I was feeling very creatively restless. I wasn’t really enjoying what I was drawing anymore,” Kish says. “I realized it had been four or five years since I read Moby-Dick, the longest absence in my life. And I thought, ‘I’m just going to jump right in. It’s a way to get me closer to the book, and this is going to keep me inspired artistically.’ And the next day I got started. That was Aug. 5, 2009.”
Two years later, on Nov. 13, Kish will share his creation with readers used to seeing his touch in the DVD, CD and young adult collections. He says he’s not sure what art will flow next for him.
“This project completely shaped and structured my life every day for a year and a half, and that was really trying,” Kish says. “I had an intense sense of relief to finally be done. But I was also really wistful. All those characters had become companions to me.”
Matt Kish presents “Moby Dick In Pictures: One Drawing For Every Page” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Dayton Metro Library, downtown branch, 215 E. Third St., Dayton. The event is free. Information: 937-463-2665, http://everypageofmobydick.blogspot.com.