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Culture Works to solicit input at community meetings

As part of a year-long regional cultural planning process called “Culture Connects 20/20,” Culture Works is issuing an open invitation to two community meetings: a June 4 meeting will be held in Dayton at the Aullwood Audubon Farm and a June 5 meeting is slated for the Springfield Museum of Art.

The upcoming information-gathering sessions have two purposes: to let people know about the regional cultural plan and to gather feedback on arts and culture in neighborhoods, communities and the region, according to Culture Works president and CEO Martine Meredith Collier.

Researchers from the University of Dayton and Wright State University will be on hand, along with project manager Marc Golding from the arts consulting firm WolfBrown. The goal is “to facilitate an engaged discussion providing an opportunity for all present to speak out about arts and culture — what’s important to them, what can be done better and what they would like to see more of in the community.”

“Planning is a bit abstract, so we expect a lot of questions about the regional planning process itself,” Collier said. “Usually people want to know what we are going to do and how it will benefit their family and community.”

The planning team, said Collier, has been conducting interviews and reviewing material about the Dayton region and will start each session by presenting some of its initial impressions about issues ranging from the needs of artists and arts education to ethnic and racial diversity in the arts.

“We want to learn about what sorts of creative activities people enjoy, what they’d like more of, how arts and cultural groups in their community are doing, and what would make those groups even more effective,” Collier said. “We’ll be sharing what we learn from these meetings and the other research we’re doing so when we meet again in the fall, the conversations can build on these as well as the research that will be conducted over the summer.”

The group is hoping the meetings will attract a broad range of citizens from the region, including members of cultural organizations and their boards, elected officials, arts advocates, artists and others interested in the arts.

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