PIQUA — Raise the Roof for the Arts embarked on a new adventure as they held a champagne luncheon fundraiser on Saturday, April 23, at the Piqua Country Club. According to Raise the Roof for the Arts Executive Director Sarah Barr, the event was an overwhelming financial success raising $14,500.
The sold out event included 230 guests who enjoyed champagne served by many Shelby County influential leaders, a gourmet meal created by Executive Chef Keith Taylor, decadent desserts from Ghyslain Chocolatier and for entertainment a fashion show with local celebrity models adorning outfits by Bloom Fashions of Vandalia, Nitza’s of Lima and Allison’s Custom Jewelry.
A special presentation from guest, Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute summed up the Historic Sidney Theatre project better than anyone could ever have expressed, said Barr.
“The arts both performing and visual have been a part of my life since my childhood and those experiences help shape who I am and my career,” said Roediger. “As a child, I remember going to Dayton’s Memorial Hall for children’s theatre. My family vacations always involved museums and theatre. As a young man, an unfortunate football injury redirected my interests and I tried performing in my school musical, which lead to me pursuing a theatre degree at Ohio Northern University. Needless to say, I was hooked.
“So I am always thrilled when I hear about a community working to save and restore their historic theatre. I read that the builder of the now Historic Sidney Theatre, CB Deweese, was influenced by the Victoria Theatre and opened his Majestic Theatre in 1921,” he said.
When Roediger was growing up, the Victoria was called the Victory Theatre. In the mid-70s, he watched his father, who was the president of the board for 15 years, worked with other leaders in the community to save Dayton’s last beautiful theatre.
“At one time, there were 10 stage and movie theatres in downtown Dayton and the Victory was the last one facing the wrecking ball,” said Roediger. “The saving of the Victory was a grassroots movement. Volunteers literally collected funds in tin cans and stood on the street to stop the demolition.”
Roediger said without the arts mavericks the face of downtown Dayton would look a lot different today.
“It was the right group of volunteers and funders at the right time,” he said. “Had the Victoria not been saved, there would not have been the Metropolitan Arts Center which houses the Loft Theatre that is home to the Human Race Theatre Company.
“If the Victoria was not saved, there would have never have been the Schuster Performing Arts Center which is now the home to the Dayton Philharmonic, the Dayton Ballet, and the Dayton Opera as well as the Victoria Theatre Association’s Broadway Series and many other community and national touring shows and productions,” Roediger said.
“One dilapidated theatre and a group civic-minded people made a positive difference and created what has been ranked as one of the top arts cities in the mid-west! They didn’t know at the time that they were making transformative change. They just wanted to save their history,” he said.
Prior to coming to The Dayton Art Institute Roediger was the vice president of Development for Victoria Theatre Association. He saw Dayton’s downtown change as major retail and companies left the city. He witnessed the evolution of the arts community that continued to flourish and reinvent itself.
“I now have the honor and responsibility to be a part of that same rebirth of Dayton’s historic Dayton Art Institute,” said Roediger. “In 2019, the museum will celebrate its Centennial as an organization. We are redefining what it means to be a visual art museum in the 21st Century. We are caring for our historic building and seeking to present relevant and meaningful visual art experiences. We view the museum as more than a place to see and learn about incredible works of art, but also as a gathering place for the community. As place for life’s celebrations.
“So why does this matter to you?” he asked “Why does this matter to Sidney? Places like the Victoria Theatre, The Dayton Art Institute and Historic Sidney Theatre tell our history; they bring us together to unite during trying times and allow us to learn and escape through the fantasy of the stage, screen and works of art. Throughout history there are a few common threads – human interaction; war and the fight for survival … and art.”
As far back as the earliest known humans, forms of visual art are present. As far back as early Greek and Roman times the wealthy and destitute gathered together to experience theatre, he said.
“When film came to be, humanity for the first time in history could see other people and parts of the world and during both World Wars, movie theatres were respites for weary war-torn communities and countries,” he said.
“We are truly humbled by the overwhelming support of our “Puttin on the Glitz” fundraiser,” said Barr. “A special thank you to our 47 sponsors including Zonin Prosecco (Tim Matz) Alvetro Orthodontics, Wilson Health and Emerson Climate Technologies. Thank you to our debonair champagne server, glamorous models and to the Puttin’ on the Glitz committee for making this event a smashing success.”
Save the date for next year’s event, said Barr, which will be Saturday, April 22, 2017.