Our Daytonian of the Week tells us about himself, and about his love for art and Dayton.
Tell us about your background. What has led you to this point in your career?
I started out majoring in computer science. I enjoyed it, and it was a sure path to a lucrative career, but I really didn’t see myself spending that much time in front of a computer screen. (Who knew 10 years later we all would spend our days staring at screens?) I spent some time after leaving school figuring out what would take its place, but I always occupied a lot of my time being involved in creative spaces. I was part of a record label years ago. I’m still involved in helping Dayton’s fashion market grow. I’ve attended film workshops and written movie scripts and have always had an eye for visual art. I spent plenty of years working at various jobs, being involved in real-estate projects and other ventures, including a Chuck E. Cheese’s franchise, but the creative spaces were always where the passion was.
What led you to open the Edward A. Dixon Gallery? What was the inspiration behind the gallery’s mission?
There were many factors that led to the opening of the gallery. I think the largest factor was wanting to bring a little of what I enjoyed about the museums and galleries I visited in other cities here to Dayton and in one place. That being a varied and diverse collection of art, large-scale pieces, comfortable surroundings, small intimate events, music always in the background and other things that either made me feel like I was at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles or a Chelsea gallery in Manhattan.
The idea evolved from wanting to do something small in my office to realizing the only way to do it was to do it right, which meant a permanent space solely for the art.
I accomplished all that and more in my first space, but moving to the current smaller space due to the pandemic has meant some changes. However, I am sure once public life gets closer to pre-pandemic times again, the gallery will return to all of those things.
Another factor, and one of my missions for the gallery, was wanting to make sure there was a space that not only everyone might see at least one piece of art that appealed to them, but they also could feel comfortable in the gallery no matter what their art or personal background was. It’s always disappointing but an opportunity when I hear someone say they don’t know enough about art to have an opinion.
How do you believe art enhances a community?
I think art is a constant reminder that using our creativity is one of the greatest ways to connect with each other and to our deepest selves. Art also gives color and life to what might otherwise be dull, lifeless spaces.
If you could meet any artist in time, who would it be and why?
If I could meet any visual artist in time, it would be a tough choice between Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Van Gogh. Both are among my favorite artists, and I would enjoy meeting either of them in person to see what they were actually like instead of just relying on others’ recounts or opinions. It would be great to do that and really understand how their daily lives influenced their artwork.
We’ve all had a chance to reflect during the pandemic. What have you found to be positive during this time?
I think being forced to slow down in many ways has made people reevaluate what their priorities are and they (we) have taken this time to make changes or branch out in different directions while the world was kind of sitting still.
What inspires you about the Dayton area?
There are a lot of great people in Dayton who always do what they can to make their city a better place in spite of the odds or naysayers. Seeing that drive and consistency just makes me want to do more towards that goal.
What would your perfect Dayton date be?
An outdoor concert at the Levitt or Riverscape, an outdoor dinner on one of wonderful restaurant patios and a walk downtown along the river. I like the outdoors!
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you do for the community?
I would remove all physical and mental borders and barriers that separate us and that keep our community from being the best it can be.
The Edward A. Dixon gallery is located at 118 W. First St. inside the Talbott Tower. The gallery is open Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and by appointment. Call 937-985-2115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.