After functioning without a brick-and-mortar location for more than three years, Dayton Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center has found a new home in Trotwood at the site of the former Salem Mall. The multipurpose facility is a major part of the Sears Redevelopment Project in partnership with the city of Trotwood and Trotwood Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).
“This is really a component of a master project to redevelopment the former mall site in its entirety,” said Chad Downing, executive director of Trotwood CIC. “We’re starting with the Sears building because we’ve got control of it but more importantly, we were able to get $2 million in congressional funding from Congressman (Mike) Turner’s office to support the capital redevelopment of that building. The Funk Center is a going to be an exciting component of that building. They’re going to help be an anchor for that building but really the entire site.”
In 2019, Dayton Funk Music Hall of Fame, also known as the Funk Center, was forced to vacate its original location at 113 E. Third St. within the Fire Blocks District. The move happened just as the center was establishing itself as a worthy destination for music fans enamored with the Ohio Players, Zapp and other hometown proponents of the distinctive blend of soul, blues and jazz.
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
While searching for a permanent home for the collection of memorabilia, instruments and stage costumes the museum has accumulated, Funk Center president and CEO David R. Webb found new ways to share the history of Miami Valley funk music. He oversees the long-running cable access program, “The Funk Chronicles,” the continually expanding syndicated, “The Dayton Scene Radio Show,” and spearheads community outreach through educational programs and the traveling Funk Box Experience, which is being presented at the PNC Arts Annex Feb. 6-10 courtesy of Dayton Live.
“This partnership between the Funk Center and the city of Trotwood is big news for us,” Webb said. “Finding a physical location is something we’ve been working toward for years. This is very exciting because it’s bringing not just a museum but a venue for music and arts to that area. Trotwood was a like a desert. It was dried up but now it’s coming back to life with this venture with the Sears building. We’re excited to be part of that revitalization.”
The new physical location for the Funk Center will allow Webb and his team to expand its educational offerings beyond the Funk Box Experience to other hands-on projects, lecture series and special programming.
“The exciting thing for me is we were wanting to incorporate arts, community and cultural events but this really takes it to something we didn’t quite think was possible,” Downing aded. “It’s an incredible opportunity for Trotwood but it will obviously serve the entire region. We’re really happy the Funk Museum and Exhibition Center can finally begin to work with us to settle in their permanent home. Chris Wright is building a basketball and sporting complex that’s not very far from there. Now, Trotwood is going to be able to attract people from outside of the community itself and even outside the region. It will provide new opportunities for our small businesses and restaurants.”
A specific timeline for an official opening is unknown but Downing expects to involve the community in discussions as pre-development planning evolves.
“Putting the Funk Center in a place that makes sense with the heritage and history of funk music in Trotwood and the region can create something that is meaningful,” he said. “It will give our residents something to be prideful of that’s going on in the community. Bringing both of our visions and missions together is only going to make it so much stronger and increase the chance for all of us to be successful for the long term. It’s an exciting opportunity.”
For more information, visit thefunkcenter.org.
Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or firstname.lastname@example.org.