Week 3: May 13 – May 19
The Casually Cool Award
What do you like to do for fun?
I’m a big music lover, but I’m extremely passionate about jazz. As a singer, I’ll be performing at The Dayton Art Institute on July 11. Last fall, I played at the Levitt Pavilion, and I’ve performed all over the region, including return engagements at The Dayton Metro Library and a three-month residency at The Blue Note Bistro; I was also the final headliner at the legendary Gilly’s jazz club. On Monday nights, I host Equinox, a three-hour jazz program, on WYSO FM, our regional NPR flagship. I’m also working with both The Muse Machine and The Miami Valley School to bring jazz education to young people.
I’ve also been a salsa dancer for many years, and I love to cook and entertain, so my girlfriend and I have dinner parties often. Whenever I can, I squeeze in a few episodes of my favorite TV show, Frasier…our cats, Niles and Daphne, like watching with me because all the people on the TV know their names!
Week 2: May 6 – May 12
The Workplace Image Award
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Front Street has emerged as Dayton’s premier destination for vibrant, local art. We are not a nonprofit; we are home to dozens of studios and galleries in one downtown location, but our business is helping our artists grow and succeed. That approach was very attractive to me, and is groundbreaking on a level that goes far beyond Dayton. I’m proud of the diversity and high quality visible every day in our three-building complex, and I’m honored to be a part of expanding that into a new chapter on a team where every member is enthusiastically in support of the mission.
I speak often about my love of seeing What Is and imagining What Could Be, and putting in the work to bring it about. I hate to hear, “Well, that’s never been done before.” I hate to hear, “Well, that’ll never get funding.” Dayton is a city of innovators, built by innovative legends. Charles Kettering and Colonel Deeds and the Wright brothers didn’t say, “But nobody’s ever done that,” and close up shop. Paul Laurence Dunbar didn’t. Dave Chappelle didn’t. They had great ideas, and they turned them and turned them and pushed and pulled until they found a way to make them succeed. The people I work for at Front Street? We sing the same song. Our artists and artisans, too. We’re singing the same song and dreaming the same dream.
What’s most rewarding about my job? Every week, I go to work at a place where anything is possible, and when I sit down at the table, my boss asks, “How can we make something cool happen?”
What more could you want?
Week 1: April 24 – May 5
The First Impressions Award
What made you decide to pursue your current career or vocation?
The Dayton region’s booming arts scene is one of its most valuable resources. As a tireless advocate for creative innovation in the city, I’ve spent the last 18 years bringing press coverage to the innovators and organizations that drive those changes, and I’ve put my time and money where my mouth is by personally supporting, fundraising and serving on boards for groups working to make Dayton’s arts community more sustainable and even more vital.
I love getting in on the ground floor of something. And I don’t mean that in terms of dollars and investment – the most professionally satisfying thing for me is being at the start of something new that’s big and unprecedented, the opportunity to help mold a new future. I love being part of a team somewhere we can put our fingers in the dirt and build the reality we see in our minds. Front Street has been an arts presence for decades, but over the last couple of years, it’s changed the landscape of creative culture in the region, and is at the beginning of some big plans that will shake things up even more. When I was invited to come aboard and help bring that vision to life, how could I resist?