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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Connecting with My Past--- Living Arts Center

Some days are like you were REALLY back there.

One of my truly great joys  from the time I was 12-18 years old, I attended a program for students interested in the arts. It was back in the sixties and I was already driving my parents crazy wanting to be an artist.   # Living Arts Center, Dayton, Ohio  was an answer.
  • The idea was to take a group of students who were artistically gifted/talented and mix them  with students of average abilities.
  • Although some thought it was just for the rich kids, it was really for a mix.
  • In the beginning you had to audition and I picked drama to start out, then added creative writing and art.
  • Many of the students were misfits, highly intelligent, loners, loser, drama-queens, kids who had family problems, the insecure, talented, all free spirits that we love.
  • Our teachers, in Drama, Art, Music, Creative Writing and Dance were outstanding in their own  abilities.  They were our instructors, mentors, therapists, parents and people who nurtured and understood the mind of teenagers.  As teens we were driven by our passion and commitment to self-expression and poor understanding of self.
  • They taught us not only about the arts, but about humanities by a mandatory monthly Round-Table discussion about what art meant to us.
  • We became the "cool" kids because we were fortunate enough to get to attend.
  • Dayton had just started the great "busing" fiasco, and was beginning to fall short in academics, but the Living Arts Center was funded by a grant, and we had free art materials, and unlimited options.  We could build our inventive musical instruments out of two-by-fours!
  • They gave front stage and back stage classes and who knew I would get so good at making scenery and improvisation.
  • My creative writing ability flourish. My poetry was printed in a REAL book.
  • We had visitors from the arts too.  Musicians and TV stars would stop by.  I meet Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched) and Ed Asner (Mary Tyler Moore) this way.
  • I spent hours crying in the director's office about my family life.
  • I evolved into the passionate, artist soul I am now.  Still fighting my mental demon's, I was  with my then first boyfriend Bruce, and enjoying my escape.
  • I touched the skin of Black people for the first time, and realized gay boys were different but a lot of fun.
  • My life was in heaven.  I got my school work done, but I was always dreaming of my next project.  
So imagine...  my surprise yesterday when I discovered there was a Facebook page for people
who attended the Living Arts Center. I have joined just to celebrate this great part of my life.

RIP my dear LAC -an old warehouse on Linden Ave.

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