Leadership Ohio participants journeyed to Toledo, Ohio on September 19-20, 2014. The focus of the Toledo programming was Arts and Culture. On day one we were greeted by Dave Schlaudecker of Leadership Toledo. With great energy and enthusiasm, Dave delivered information about the city’s youth programming, citywide efforts to build community, and feeding the hungry. His co-worker Anna Torey served as a support person during the presentation and later shared that the Leadership Toledo team works together like a family to meet its mission.
The early morning session continued with Jennifer Jarrett, Deputy Director of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo (ACGT). Jennifer spoke about a variety of arts programming offered in Toledo. She discussed one particularly popular biennial program entitled Artomatic 419. This program builds community, fosters creativity, and promotes the arts throughout Toledo to any level of participant choosing to showcase their work in a well-planned, exciting space in greater Toledo.
The next stop of the day was the Valentine theater. The group toured through the theater and learned of its rich history. The theater underwent a $28 million renovation in 1999. An exciting mural displaying many famous people in history is proudly adorning one of the key spaces within the theater. We learned the mural was painted over a five year period. The theater hosts a variety of events throughout the year.
The latter half of the day found the group at the Toledo School for the Arts (TSA). TSA is a public community charter school that teaches academics through the integration of the arts. The school is open to children grades 6-12, and operates on a lottery system. There are approximately 700 students at TSA (TSA 2014 brochure).
The group was toured by Amanda, a graduating senior at TSA. Children with varying interests and abilities graduate from the school and go on to colleges throughout the county. The energy at TSA is contagious. The group was fortunate enough to see a portion of a dance class, academic classrooms, and a martial arts studio. The walls at TSA are proudly lined with student artwork.
The final portion of the day was spent at the Toledo Museum of Art (TMA). The museum was founded in 1901 by Edward Drummond Libbey. Jackie Tussing, Development Officer, served as our tour guide. She shared a few of her favorite museum holdings with the group, and encouraged everyone to explore the artwork that was of personal interest. The Glass Pavilion, a beautifully appointed space across from the museum, greets visitors with a spectacular Chihuly chandelier. We learned, the Glass Pavilion holds the 1904 Libbey punch bowl which was unveiled at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Leadership Ohio participants were engaged in learning at the Pavilion when a glass blowing artist gave a demonstration and artistically created a beautiful glass bowl.
The day was completed with a delicious meal at ICE in downtown Toledo.
The second day of the trip began in a relaxed community café named The Glass City Café. This local diner had a neighborly and welcoming feel. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast before heading off to Secor Gallery and Jesse Mireles’s art studio. Jesse, a graphic designer and painter, took us on a tour of Secor Gallery. He shared his passion for the arts in Toledo, as well as his personal interest in painting. Jesse’s work is inspired by nature. His studio overlooks the river and is bright and cheerful much like Jesse.
Following our visit with Mr. Mireles, the group browsed the Shared Lives Studio. The Share Lives Studio artists all have some type of special needs. Various mediums like glass, metal, and fabric have been turned into fantastic creations which are proudly displayed and for sale around the studio. This cheerful space leaves you feeling inspired.
The trip came to a close with a relaxed lunch at Joenesta’s Gallery. The group strolled the gallery prior to eating, everyone finding their own way to put closure on an art inspired and welcoming two days.