Mary Kathryn Burnside: Queen of Clash

Mary Kathryn Burnside always has been more into the “art side” than the “retail side” of the business she opened in 2011 at age 28.

“My passion is art and events and helping artists get their stuff out there,” said the owner of Clash Dayton at 521 E. Fifth St. in Dayton’s Oregon District.

Over its nearly four years, Burnside’s vision has transformed Clash into an Oregon District destination for art and fashion shows, outsider art and gifts as well as vintage and new attire and accessories.

Born in Morgantown, W.Va., and raised in Clarksburg, W.Va, Burnside moved to Dayton to study at the Ohio Institute of Photography and Technology.

She quickly became a part of the arts scene. She was a bartender and/or booked acts for the Therapy Cafe and the former Night Owl and Sidebar.

Burnside, whose image is featured on Warped Wing’s Gypsy Queen beer, helped found LadyFest Dayton, a local female music and art festival, and c{space, a defunct creative incubator that emerged from the DaytonCreate initiative inspired by urbanist Richard Florida.

C{space featured bands “that didn’t necessarily get booked at other venues,” Burnside said. “It was a neat place. I still miss it.”

Despite its popularity, C{space folded after its building, 20 N. Jefferson St, Dayton, was rented to the owners of The Vault. MJ’S Cafe now operates in that space.

Shortly after C{space closed, Burnside, then a entrepreneurship student at Sinclair Community College, seized the opportunity to open Clash Consignment when an opportunity presented itself at 113 E. Third St. in August 2011.

Back then, she told me the store all but named itself.

“I was in the store and I said ‘nothing in here matches. Everything in here clashes’,” she said in 2011.

Burnside jumped at the opportunity again when her current location became available in the Oregon District.

“I said ‘hell yeah’,” she said.

Nearly four years later, the business has drifted away from consignment, which Burnside said took her away from her focus.

I was a lot of work.

“People just show up with bags of stuff, and they would get upset and offended when you don’t take them,” she said. “It takes away from other stuff I have to do.”

Clash has become known for its art and fashion shows that feature locally produced works, handmade items and merchandise from local shops.

The space also serves as an art gallery for the works of artists like Robert Walker, whose work includes “mermaids, vampire bats, dark fairy tails and the ever-growing collection of creatures.”

As a gallery, Clash also features locally produced works from dark, outsider and fine artists.

The Pseudosect Art Show Closing Party for Mike Guidone and Mike Betts is set for 5-10 p.m. Feb. 28., both artists’ birthday.

More than 30 local artists will present works for Clash’s March First Friday show “Exhibition 8X10” from 5-10 p.m. March 6.

The clothing at Clash also has evolved.

Sourpuss, Voodoo Vixen, Jawbreaker, Folter, Switchblade Stiletto and Too Fast are among the ready-to-wear lines the shop carries.

The lines are like Clash itself.

“There are lines of clothing that you cannot find anywhere else in Dayton,” Burnside said.

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