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Take pART demonstrates Public Value

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In early 2008 the OAC launched a new initiative called Take pART that aims to gather public value stories from citizens around Ohio. The OAC introduced the idea of public value to its constituents in 2004 as a core concept for Ohio's arts organizations as we move into a new era for the arts. Public value is difficult to define in concrete terms. The most important thing about public value is that it is something that exists within each community - it is created by the citizens, businesses and organizations of that community. The OAC can't define public value for the entire state or even for a particular community or organization. Our goal is to help our constituents seek out and define the public value within their own work, within their own community, and to, in turn, help reveal that public value.

It is our hope that through Take pART people throughout the state will share how the arts have made an impact on their lives and within their community. As artists and arts organizations you can not only enter your own stories, but also help us gather evidence of public value by inviting your participants to share their stories with you and through Take pART. The fundamental question is how have you changed, or how have your participants lives changed, as a result of engagement with your art and with your organization?

For anyone interested in learning more about the concept of public value we invite you to visit the Convenings Page--a series of meetings which took place in 2004 to introduce the concept of public value. The page contains links to resources such as New Frameworks for Revealing Public Value in the Arts (Christy Farnbauch, Mollie Lakin-Hayes, Jerry Yoshitomi; copyright, March 2004) and remarks made by Wayne Lawson and Jerry Yoshitomi during the March 2004 meetings.

Tell us YOUR story

Welcome to the Ohio's Arts Council's new statewide initiative--Take pART! The Ohio Arts Council wants to hear how the arts have made an impact on your life and your community. Whether through a memorable concert or play, a favorite art teacher, an engaging book group or a popular sculpture in your community, the arts play a part in everyone's life.

We look forward to hearing your story and sharing it on our Web site with citizens throughout Ohio and the nation. Each submission will be reviewed by the Ohio Arts Council and posted within two business days on the Take pART pages. The most recent 10 submissions will be viewable on this page and all submissions will be viewable on a searchable page linked below.

Following are the most recent Take pART stories.
We hope you enjoy learning more about how the arts impact the lives of Ohioans.

From Damien (Toledo) on 7/26/2013
          The arts has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. I used to perform with local area theater groups such as the Children's Theater Workshop and later the Toledo Repetoire Theater. Theater productions, both seeing them and being a part of the the show has been a really big part of my life. Later on, I was inspired by jazz music and learned to play the trumpet and had a chance to host a local jazz radio station, WXTS 88.3 FM. Having the opportunity to experience both music and theater and have music a huge part of my life has been wonderful. I was able to discover my talent and developed a lot more uses of my talents on my own.
From Akil (Cincinnati) on 3/11/2013
          Art has been a part of my life every since I was a kid. Since nobody, in my immediate family, really showed any appreciation of the arts, I found my talent and nutured it on my own. There were people who encouraged and taught me along the way. I am an artist in the following disciplines of fine arts, portraiture; writing, plays, screenplays, poetry; graphic arts, illustration and media, all aspects of televison production. In 1998 I produced a documentary Black In Time thanks to a grant from Ohio Arts Council, Artist Projects. Currently, I'm trying to raise funds to produce my first motion picture Stranger at the Door.

From Marshall (Athens) on 12/8/2012
          Back in late 2012, I applied to the Ohio Arts Council thru the Athens Photographic Project for an artist's grant. Late Summer early Fall 2012 I received my grant. Currently, largely in part due to the grant from the OAC I just ordered my first DSLR. A Nikon D5100 w/18-105 zoom lens, tripod and a few other accessories. A big THANK-YOU to the OAC, and Elise Sanford/Nate Thompson, and Josh Birnbaum of the Athens Photographic Project for making this possible. Currently sitting on pins & needles and the edge of my chair in enthusiastic anticipation waiting for the FedEx man to arrive.
From Elise (Oxford) on 10/22/2012
          My favorite public sculpture in Ohio was made by my husband, Jim McWilliams, for the Oxford Community Park during Oxford's bicentennial celebration a few years ago. It is my favorite sculpture because I understood for the first time what goes into the content, design and giving a large scale sculpture its final form. It created a much larger picture for me to witness this firsthand, to see the technical approaches, the functionality and the engineering of the manifestation of the design into form.

We are both art teachers and artists, and it is always a complex dynamic to witness an idea coming into fruition, but this was such a major undertaking that I felt grateful to just be a part of the process.

Jim teaches art at Talawanda High School in Oxford, and I teach art at Hollingsworth East Elementary School in Eaton.
From Robert (Bobby) (Dayton) on 6/11/2012
          I was inspired to draw by my Uncle Morris. He was very secretive about his work, and didn't want to display his subjects until they were all complete. I later learned that it was to avoid pre-mature judgment of his ability. I have adopted the same feelings.

Since I was only about 6-9 yrs old, the arts impacted me as sort of a sign on a highway that would lead you to a city, by showing up only in certain places along the way with indications or reminders about how far away I was. I was not a prolific artist because I allowed so many distractions and side shows to alter my path. Much of those distractions were diabolical, and many were righteous and only for the records or disciplinary or prerequisite courses in a classroom.

My life was so full of twist and turns, but art was always like a tow truck that picked me up when I was down and towed me to a fix. I found a new state of mind and a new state to drive it in. My puzzled past was placed in a vault and I was eventually groomed as a successful salesman and was strayed from artwork as long as 20 years.

The heart of the skill never stopped beating and I resumed the practice later, as if I had never strayed from it. I am a cancer patient now with a survival story that was fitting for a book. So I wrote my story in an autobiography titled "CATSKILLS" to reveal my life as if through the eyes of a Big Cat. Over the years I have written poems, short stories, and all for no other gain but self-fulfillment. Now my life is taken from archive and my book is for all to see. The sole purpose for the revelation is with hope to inspire anyone who is or knows of someone who is with uncertainties about who they are and where they want to go. In many ways, my life has been like the feelings my uncle had about the privacy of his artwork. I don't want to be judged...that is for God...and he is not finished with me. Thank you for listening.
From Kamellia (Cincinnati) on 5/28/2012
          Why Balinese Dance

It began for me in my hometown of Jakarta, Indonesia when I was five years old. My kindergarten teacher had asked students if we were interested in joining a class to learn Balinese dance. I can still remember my mother's reaction. Her eyes were wide and round. "You have to join it!" she said.

I did join and I have been dancing for more than 30 years. Now I live in Cincinnati where most people have never heard of this kind of dance, and I still love it. However, I'm glad I'm not alone. Now there is Jeanne Speier, who has been doing Balinese dance as long as I have. We met through the Contemporary Dance Theater in Cincinnati. Together we set up a dancing group called Balinese Dance Cincinnati. We perform and teach. But when people ask me "Why Balinese dance?" I never really know how to answer.

Balinese dance comes from the island of Bali in Indonesia. Every dance has a story. Every move means something. You can see the dancers portray happiness, or anger, or sorrow. The costumes are colorful. The music is different. It uses gamelan, an orchestra featuring a variety of instruments such as drums, flutes, and gongs. Do I love the dance because of these? I don't know.

After our performances, people will come up to Jeanne and me to say how much they enjoy the dancing. When we performed at the Cincinnati Recreation Center, one man was so touched he even cried. "It's so beautiful," he told Jeanne. At the Contemporary Dance Theater, a friend said, "I didn't understand the music, but your facial expressions told the story. The music didn't matter anymore."

At a nursing home in Wyoming, Alzheimer patients smiled and their eyes lifted up when watching the dance. "They may lose their memories but they still have feelings, and we just brought a little excitement to their lonely days," Jeanne said. Do these reasons explain why the dance makes me happy? I still don't know.

Earlier this month, Jeanne and I conducted a workshop at the Contemporary Dance Theater called Introduction to Balinese Dance & Culture. Four students showed up, all of them new to Balinese dance. They didn't come just to have fun, they really wanted to learn. I was touched to see their seriousness and eagerness to try something totally different. I was intrigued to ask why. But I realized that if I don't know the answer, why should they?

Dancing makes me happy. When people enjoy it, I feel honored. This should be enough of an answer.
From Kristie (Lakewood) on 5/24/2012
          Art has always been a part of my life and encouraged by my family. I graduated with a BFA in painting, exhibited artwork and mingled with other artists. Today, I spread my love of the arts to children to help them heal and grow. I love watching them make discoveries about themselves and encouraging them to make mistakes.

There is an artist in all of us and it should be nurtured.

Go Art Therapy!
From Barbara (Toledo) on 4/29/2012
          My mother must get credit for bringing out the creativity in me that we all have--whether business, writing, performance or visual arts. My mother always said to give children their space and she always let me play.

I know for a fact this concept of playtime taught me to make decisions, suffer consequences, and become creative, such as how to solve problems that life throws at me. She never interfered with my decisions no matter how different they were. This is reflected in my artwork: I take risks, pull away from "tradition", suffer consequences, have self-discipline, and pursue my goals of visual art and writing even though I am in the winter of my life.

She did not do this in the gentle way of a delicate rose, but with the stern, consistent behavior of a stubborn flower that let me know not to ask for help, but to "do-it-yourself". Before she passed away, I read her the poem I wrote for her as a unique, strong, survivor: a "Dandelion Among Roses."
From kevin (dayton) on 3/12/2012
          My name is Kevin Petty, born and raised in West Dayton, OH. When I was aroung 6 years old, I remember performing with my dad at his show and after the performance he would tell me one day I will be a star on T.V. Growing up on the west side had its challegues. The streets were an idol to doing the wrong thing and becoming a criminal. As a young black male in Dayton, I endured the street life and trouble as most of some did. Drugs, stealing and robbing were everyday visual concepts in my community. Although, I wasn't involved in a few negative behaviors growing up, it hurt me to watch my friends and family members get caught up with the wrongs in today's society. I was very interested in drawing, becoming an artist and designing incredible things. I will draw- draw- draw... Until my fingers hurt. Drawing was my world. As I got older in my high school years, I would put a story/words to my drawing and now I'm creating movies and plays with a storyboard. In high school, we weren't equipped to study much about movies and plays. Everyday after school I would go home and research things about movies and plays and try to use them to my advantage. I graduated High School in 2007. Day-by-day, night-by-night, writing plays became a part of my life that I enjoyed. In May of 2011 my dad died, he was my everything, I felt lost for months after he died, I even felt like giving up everything I had the desire for, but no matter what was wrong, my dad will always tell me "everything is going to be alright". Every time he would tell me that, I wouldn't have no worries. He was so awesome, he was a wonderful father. After coming back to my senses, I decided to put one of my plays to work. So March 23rd 2012 at the Dayton Convention Center is my upcoming Stage Play HusH, doors open at 7pm show starts at 8pm. I am so excited about this Play, I have been through a whole lot to get to my dream and it's finally here with more success to come. Thanks to my support in my city of Dayton, my family, my friends, God and my dad. Thanks

From Lois (Canton) on 10/18/2011
          I grew up in the country. My parents were from West Virginia and all my relatives quilt,crochet,sing in the churches, played banjo and guitars and harmonicas. I grew up with this and thought I would never do any of these things. How wrong I was! I love all types of music, quilting, painting, using insect parts(dead ones), flowers or scraps of things from the ground in art quilts. I have had several health problems and still do. This is how art has saved me. I go to bed with art in my head and wake up the same. Nature is so beautiful that I get all kinds of ideas from it!! And to Erica, I want to listen to the Black Veil Brides!!! I don't belong to any group, I love my solitude. I worked in a factory all my life and love music or my family having fun!

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