Dayton honors its funk music heritage with new name for downtown street

“Land of Funk,” a mural of 21-panels, has been painted along the Stone Street railroad wall. LISA POWELL / STAFF
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“Land of Funk,” a mural of 21-panels, has been painted along the Stone Street railroad wall. LISA POWELL / STAFF

On Thursday, Oct. 14, the city of Dayton will be unveiling a new name for a street downtown to honor its funk music heritage.

Stone Street will now be named Land of Funk Way. This new name honors Dayton’s legacy as the home of the world’s top funk bands of the 1970s and 1980s.

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The new street name will also pair nicely with the Land of Funk mural, a tribute to Dayton funk bands like Ohio Players, Zapp & Roger, Lakeside, Slave, Faze-O, Sun and Heatwave created by artist Morris Howard beginning in 2018. The mural is located behind The Neon.

The Land of Funk Way designation ceremony will be held at the Land of Funk mural at 4 p.m.

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“Designating Stone Street as Land of Funk Way will honor an important aspect of Dayton’s African American history and support the mural on the railroad bridge wall depicting local funk groups that achieved local and national recognition,” said Sharon Gratto, University of Dayton music professor and Graul Chair in the Arts and Languages, in a release.

This dedication ceremony takes place just a few weeks before the University of Dayton will hold its second annual Dayton Funk Symposium, which will feature three days of panel discussions, forums, a screening of the documentary “Summer of Soul,” a funk line dance party on the University of Dayton campus, and a funk concert with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Schuster Center. The symposium will take place from Nov. 3-6 at venues across the city.

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“The first funk symposium at UD was such a huge success that we were encouraged to organize and host a second one,” said Gratto, who launched the inaugural symposium in 2018 and led the Land of Funk Way effort. “The goal of this symposium is again to forge a connection between Dayton’s African American community and the University.”

More information about the upcoming Dayton Funk Symposium can be found by visiting the University of Dayton’s website.