A wall near the edge of downtown and the Oregon District is now covered with funk.
>>FREE EVENT: Get your funk on today through Friday at UD Symposium
Dayton-based artist Morris Howard says the “Land of Funk” murals being painted on the Stone Street railroad wall is long overdue.
“I want them (Dayton’s funk musicians) to get the appreciation they have earned,” Howard said. “It seems like people from around the world have more of an appreciation than we do.”
The project was spearheaded by Howard and Brittini Long, Montgomery County Juvenile Court’s Reclaiming Futures Community Engagement Coordinator. The 21-panel mural features seven Dayton funk band: The Ohio Players; Faze-O; Heatwave; Zapp & Roger; Lakeside; Sun and Slave.
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The panels feature geometric shapes and other patterns as well as artistic interpretations of album covers, songs and band logos and personas.
In the 1970s and 1980s, southwestern Ohio — particularly Dayton’s west side — was known for its stable of funk bands whose influence can be heard in hip-hop, house and other musical forms popular today through sampling, covers and remixes.
The mural is being painted by local artists and children in the HAALO (Helping Adolescents Achieve Long-term Objectives) Program, a collaboration between Montgomery County Juvenile Court and K12/TEJAS Gallery for Court-involved youth.
Long said there will be a dedication ceremony for the mural at 4 p.m. Sept. 10 featuring D Funk All-Stars.
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The band will perform songs from each of the groups featured in the mural.
Until recently, the contributions of funk artists had not been fully acknowledged and celebrated in the Dayton area, Long and Howard said.
Organizers are paying for the mural project partly with a $5,000 mini block grant from the city of Dayton and a $3,000 grant from Culture Works.
An additional $2,000 is needed to purchase anti-graffiti material and other supplies.
Howard’s work can also be seen in his “Red Bird” mural nearby on the former Greyhound Bus Station wall across from the Neon movie theater, 130 E. Fifth St.
A Dayton native, Howard moved back to the city from Georgia three years ago to care for his now deceased mother. He decided to stay and says he hopes the mural reminds people — young people in particular — of Dayton’s musical legacy.