On the Arts: Cincy’s Taft Museum reaches out to families

It wouldn’t have occurred to me to take youngsters to the current exhibit at the Taft Museum of Art in Cincinnati. The impressive show, “Treasures of British Painting,” takes visitors on a chronological journey through six centuries of art. Organized by the Denver Art Museum, it showcases 50 works and is made possible by the Berger Collection Educational Trust.

What changed my mind about taking the kids were the excellent family-friendly questions and comments on paintings in each of the special exhibition galleries and the Family Guide that accompanies the exhibit. Seen through those lenses, it was obvious that people of every age would enjoy getting to know the kings and queens and horses and storms depicted in the paintings.

The collectors are fascinating, as well. The late William M. B. Berger, a financier, had roots in Ohio but grew up in Colorado when his family moved there. He and his wife, Bernadette J. Berger, began collecting historic and contemporary British art in the mid-1990s. The couple acquired almost 300 objects, making theirs one of the largest privately owned collections of British art in the United States. The neat part is that they intended — from the beginning — to make their collection available to the public and to make it a resource for both adults and children.

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Beginning with a medieval crucifixion scene and ending with contemporary painting, the exhibition touches on all major eras and genres in-between. Artists including Anthony van Dyck, Benjamin West, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, and John Singer Sargent are represented.

This is a show worth catching, and yes, take the kids. They'll also love touring the Taft mansion in which the exhibit is housed. The special exhibition will be on view through Oct. 1. A fully illustrated color catalogue is available in the museum shop. The Taft is located at 316 Pike St., in downtown Cincinnati. Visit www.taftmuseum.org to get tickets or call (513) 684-4516.

Economic impact of the arts to be discussed

Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy at Americans for the Arts, will present the latest national research on the economic impact of the arts at the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Town Hall Meeting from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 18, at the Dayton Metro Library Main Branch.

Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) is the most comprehensive economic impact study of the nonprofit arts and culture industry ever conducted in the United States. Throughout 2016 and early 2017, Culture Works administered the local study efforts in Clark, Greene, Miami, and Montgomery Counties. Culture Works gathered financial data from 113 cultural nonprofits and coordinated audience surveying at events throughout the region.

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The study results, which were released in June, show that the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $213.7 million in economic activity in the Dayton Region every year, supports 8,829 full-time equivalent jobs, and generates $23.9 million in local and state government revenues.

Cohen recently published “Americans Speak Out About the Arts, “one of the largest national public opinion studies about the arts ever conducted. He has also served as a policy specialist for the National Endowment for the Arts and led the development of the National Arts Policy Roundtable, an annual convening of leaders who focus on the advancement of American culture, in partnership with Robert Redford and the Sundance Institute.

Cohen’s presentation at the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 Town Hall Meeting will provide an opportunity for arts administrators, business leaders, government officials, and the general public to learn more about the critical role the arts play in economic growth. The event will begin with a short performance by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

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It’s the time of year when the Dayton Ballet is auditioning children for roles in its 2017 production of “The Nutcracker.” Auditions will be held on Sunday, Sept. 24, at Dayton Ballet’s downtown studios at 140 N. Main St., Fourth Floor, Dayton.

Children ages 11 to 12 are asked to come from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.; those ages 8 to 10 are scheduled to audition from 2-3:30 p.m. and those ages 6 to 7 can come from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. All dancers are asked to arrive for registration one half-hour before the listed time. Dancers are required to bring a completed, printed audition form which can be downloaded at www.daytonperformingarts.org/Nutcracker2017Auditions.

Audition forms will also be available on the day of the audition but must be completed prior to signing in. Children must be 6 years of age by Sept. 24, 2017, in order to apply. There is no fee to audition, and no résumé is required. Audition attire for girls is solid-color leotard, pink tights and ballet shoes, with hair in a bun. Audition attire for boys is white T-shirt, black tights or leggings, socks and ballet shoes.

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For additional information contact Dayton Ballet at (937) 449-5060. Information on auditions can be found online at www.daytonperformingarts.org/Nutcracker2017Auditions.

Free DPAA tickets for military families

Here’s nice news for active-duty military members, retired veterans with ID cards and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base government civilian employees in the Miami Valley area.

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is continuing its Military Appreciation Program by offering two pairs of free tickets per military household to a wide variety of performances from the 2017-2018 season. One pair can be used between September and December 2017 and one pair can be used between January and June 2018.

Military personnel may choose from 52 different performances. All tickets to Military Appreciation Program performances may be reserved or picked up within 30 days of the selected performance date. Inquiries also may be made to (888) 228-3630 regarding how many assigned tickets are still left in a given performance. A total of 100 tickets per performance date in different seating tiers will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tickets are available now at Ticket Center Stage, located in the Wintergarden of the Schuster Center on North Main Street (between First and Second Streets in downtown Dayton) or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (888) 228-3630. Tickets to selected performances are available for pickup in person with a military, veteran, or civilian employee ID.

Sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, the program has dedicated a total of 4,800 complimentary tickets to performances of the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic. For more information, go to www.daytonperformingarts.org/military.

Guitar Quartet at Wright State

The Dayton Guitar Society and the Tarrega Fund at Wright State University are sponsoring the San Francisco Guitar Quartet in concert at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21. The event will be held a Schuster Concert Hall in the school’s Creative Arts Center on campus. Admission is free and open to the public.

Bluegrass at UD

The University of Dayton will host a Bluegrass Festival Evening at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Kennedy Union ballroom. The event is hosted by adjunct faculty member and bluegrass historian Fred Bartenstein. The evening will feature the local bluegrass group Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, the Centerville High School Alternative Strings and the University’s own World Music Choir. The free event is open to the public, with limited seating available. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Each week arts writer Meredith Moss shares news about the people and events making arts news in our region.

If you have information you’d like to have included, contact Meredith: MMoss@coxohio.com

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