One local grassroots group, “This is Dayton” is trying to change the perception of Dayton – for those that live and those that visit here. One of the five DaytonCREATE initiatives, they plan to start by plastering downtown with large, vibrant posters of cool people that already do cool things in Dayton in time for Friday’s Urban Nights. This first series of posters Celebrate Daytonians, with a focus on the “Creative Class & Urban Adventurers.”
For the past year or so, this group has been trying to determine the best way to show what makes Dayton so special. What they realized is that it is the people and the connections formed within the community. Then in August, there was a blog post on www.Esrati.com about a creative professional who had lost hope in Dayton and was relocating to Austin, Texas. Carli Dixon and Theresa Gasper were sitting around Dixon’s dining room table in historic South Park one evening talking about the thread and decided to celebrate the ones who stay rather than mourn the ones who leave.
A week before, Gasper was enjoying the back patio at Café Boulevard with her husband, David, on a quiet Monday evening. According to Gasper, a group of three young professionals told the waitress they were in town for two weeks and asked what there was to do when they weren’t working. She rattled off various museums and they said they were looking for more nightlife and a little less culture. She told them about all the places in the Oregon District and you could see the look on their eyes as they looked around and realized there were only five people on the patio, and realize they were silently asking “is every place this crowded?” Says Gasper, “I can’t tell you what Dave and I talked about after that; I was so preoccupied with thinking about how to answer their question.”
It was then the vision of the posters came into focus – highlight cool people doing cool things in Dayton. So you will see photos of people rock climbing at Urban Krag, boxing at Drake’s gym, kayaking on the river, mountain bike riding, playing bike polo, etc. “These are activities many of the locals aren’t even aware of, so the posters will serve the dual purpose of informing locals and out-of-towners of activities they might not otherwise think of” said Gasper. The people in the posters are real, not models.
Carli Dixon adds “Dayton is teeming with creativity, and provocative people and happenings, but we lack a “marketing department” that effectively tells the region and the nation about our successes. Further, our downtown already has infrastructure (galleries, bars, athletic venues), but we need more people filling those venues before we can convince new venues (restaurants, shops) to return to downtown.
“This is Dayton” is a grassroots effort to market the region. The posters were designed by the committee along with Tommy Cooper, a graphic designer employed at Dixon’s company Freeze Frame It. The vinyl for the first run was donated by Digital Fringe. The Gasper’s are picking up the cost for the ink. Others have stepped forward to assist with future print runs. The posters also carry a modified version of the City of Dayton’s “Dayton Patented” logo that says “Proud to be a Dayton Original”. No taxpayer dollars were used to support this effort.
For a sneak preview, visit www.DaytonCREATE.org.