It’s Think About It Thursday
Late singer John Denver wrote a song entitled “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio” where one lyric said the town rolled up the sidewalks. That’s how I envision any evening in downtown Toledo, my home town. But last Friday night I was pleasantly surprised.
With the Glass Art Society (GAS) conference in town, the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) celebrating 50 years of glassmaking with the opening of their glass exhibit “Color Ignited,” the Arts Commission pulled out all the stops. In downtown Toledo almost 40 galleries, shops, art schools and TMA flung their doors wide to welcome a celebration of glass and artistry. And what a celebration! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen people strolling the streets of downtown Toledo. The good mood felt contagious. Awe and delight seemed to fill each gallery we visited—and we tried to visit them all. I had no idea Toledo contained that many galleries. In fact, I had no clue Toledo supported that many artists. And Friday night spotlighted mostly the glass artists. Those galleries sponsor other art mediums at other times. I felt shame that as a type of artist myself I was unaware of my brother/sister artists. What have I done to support them?
It takes money, time and effort to put together a celebration like last Friday night, to turn an entire downtown into one big exhibition. That kind of energy is hard to sustain for long. We did the entire four hours. Towards the end, some venues had closed, darkening their corner of the world. By 10:00 p.m. downtown Toledo was turning back into the ghost town I’m more familiar with. Like Cinderella and the pumpkin coach. It saddened me. I saw the possibility earlier in the evening—hearts and doors opened. I wish downtown Toledo had a reputation for not rolling up its sidewalks. But for that to happen, I, and others like me who love art, have to support the artists, businesses and organizations that promote art.
Tell me how you feel about your city’s downtown, and how you feel about art. How do you support it?