After years of planning, the Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center is finally open. The museum, located at 113 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton’s Fire Blocks District, had its grand opening from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton. TOM GILLIAM / STAFF
Credit: Tom Gilliam
Credit: Tom Gilliam
TheFunkCenter is also hoping to bring the funk to a space near you. Back in 2019, Joseph Karadin, the executive creative director of TESSELLATE, contacted Webb to create some sort of traveling museum exhibit. Two years later, TESSELLATE and TheFunkCenter collaborated to create the Funk Box.
Essentially shaped like a musician’s road case, the Funk Box is a hands-free, motion-activated exhibit that allows users to create their very own funk music simply by moving their hands over the sensors associated with different instruments.
“When you move your hand around, it moves the cursor around on the screen in front of you,” said Karadin. “So, it allows you to have a touchscreen experience without actually touching the screen. And so, as you wave your hand over the sensor, it’ll pull up different music samples. It’ll pull up the drums, and then it’ll pull up the guitar and the bass. You’ll basically be able to start adding different instruments to the song as you’re moving your hand over the sensors.”
In order to create the sound clips used in the Funk Box, TESSELLATE and TheFunkCenter enlisted the help of multiple funk musicians, including Vernon Porter, African American Studies professor Scot Brown and Joseph Wooten of the Steve Miller Band. TheFunkCenter’s Fox Box is set to be finished in August of 2021. Webb hopes to bring the traveling exhibit to learning spaces like libraries, colleges, schools and private gatherings.
“Dayton, Ohio is the funk capital of the world,” said Webb. “Music education is important to bring people together. Funk music was a lost art form but we’re bringing it back to life. I always say Ohio is the heart of all funk music and Dayton, Ohio is the nerve center of funk.”
In addition, TheFunkCenter is planning another Hall of Fame induction and symposium event. The event, which is tentatively slated to happen over the course of three days in November, will honor James Brown, George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic and Ohio Players. Neal Gittleman, artistic director and conductor of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sharon Davis Gratto, a professor of music at the University of Dayton, will also organize aspects of the event.
For more information about TheFunkCenter, pay a visit to their website or Facebook page.