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We want the funk! Funk Center celebrating grand opening in Dayton

After years of planning, the Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center is ready to get funked up. 

>> Funk museum in Dayton is now open -- and Bootsy Collins is excited

The center, located at 113 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton’s Fire Blocks District, will have its grand opening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. 

>> 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

“It needed to be done,” David R. Webb, the museum’s CEO, said about its founding. “The artists of the day from Dayton and all over the world were not being recognized.”

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Photo inside of the Funk Museum and Exhibition Center in downtown Dayton. Photo: Amelia Robinson (Staff Writer)

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HOW TO GO TO THE PARTY

UPDATE Feb. 12, 2018: Reservations are full for the grand opening celebration, but the museum will be open to the public the following Saturday as noted below. 

EARLIER: The grand opening event is free and open to the public. RSVP’s are required by Feb. 12 by calling 937-837-4441 or emailing info@thefunkcenter.org.

Entertainment includes The Dayton Funk All-Stars, Touch and DJ Stan Da Man from 98.7 FM. Appetizers will be served.

There will be half-hour tours of the Funk Center from 7-9 p.m. that day. Webb said The Funk Center will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17. Call 937-837-4441 to make reservations for other times. 

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Photo inside of the Funk Museum and Exhibition Center in downtown Dayton. Photo: Amelia Robinson (Staff Writer)

WHAT TO EXPECT INSIDE OF THE MUSEUM 

Museum highlights include Dayton artist Delora Buford-Buchanan’s mural “Mount Funk More” and exhibits on the Ohio Players, Heatwave, Zapp, WDAO FM radio and Sly & the Family Stone.

One of the original signs from the recently closed Gilly’s Jazz in downtown Dayton is also in the museum. The club, owned by the late Jerry Gillotti, hosted several fundraising events for the museum. 

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“(There are) so many highlights it’s hard to name them all,” Webb said.

The funk music genre put Dayton on the map as the Land of the Funk in the 1970s and ’80s, thanks to a stable of groups that included the Ohio Players, Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame, Zapp, Faze-O, Heatwave, Sun, Slave and Lakeside. 

>> PHOTOS: Jerry Gillotti, owner of Gilly’s nightclub, through the years

Webb said he hopes the center becomes a historical destination for Dayton that pays homage to funk stars past and present, and educates the public about the history of a genre of music he’s loved most of his life.

Photo inside of the Funk Museum and Exhibition Center in downtown Dayton. Photo: Amelia Robinson (Staff Writer)

HOW DID WE GET HERE? 

The funk music museum has publicly been in the works for about three years, but has been a longtime dream of Webb and several other funk fans and artists for decades.

Two groups, including one endorsed by then-Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell called Dayton Funk Dynasty, announced plans for funk museums in 2013.

Webb was affiliated with the Dayton Funk Dynasty, but eventually split from that group.

Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center, a non-profit currently run by a seven-member board, is the result of that effort.

Photo inside of the Funk Museum and Exhibition Center in downtown Dayton. Photo: Amelia Robinson (Staff Writer)

The museum earned a major victory when it moved into the Dayton Metro Library’s Northwest Branch at 2410 Philadelphia Drive for several months in 2016.

Webb announced in December of 2016 that the museum would move to its current location. The 7,000-square-foot space is part of properties being developed by the Ellway Group. He anticipated opening it in March of 2017, but faced unexpected delays.

The museum has officially been open by appointment only since late December 2017.

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