WYSO

Culture Couch

WYSO is exploring the arts scene in our community with a new occasional series. It’s called Culture Couch. Have a seat.

It’s stories about creativity – told through creative audio storytelling.

From Broadway musicals to youth theatre, and graphic novels to graffiti, you’ll meet artists from across the region. We hope you’ll join us for the journey.

Culture Couch is made possible by a generous grant from the Ohio Arts Council.

Madison Men's Choir Makes Music Through Prison Walls

Jan 10, 2016
Becca Schall / Courtesy of Cathy Roma/UBUNTU

UBUNTU choir is a group of men who are prisoners at the Madison Correctional Institution in London, a few minutes outside Columbus. The choir’s been recording its first album—and one prisoner is the composer of many of the songs. Culture Couch took a visit to find out about the process of making music with people in prison.

 

Research And Jazz Keep A Dayton Pianist In Perpetual Motion

Dec 21, 2015
Keigo and Wenbi Hirakawa at home
Dave Barber / WYSO

Keigo Hirakawa is an Ivy League-educated researcher and professor at the University of Dayton. He is also a gifted jazz pianist—and he’s trying to be at the top of his game in both worlds. Hirakawa moved to Dayton from the east coast in 2010. He came here for the job at UD, but he also came here for the music.

“It’s hard to balance family, work and music,” Hirakawa says. “The amount of time that I spend for work—work meaning research—is non stop.”

Going Behind the Scenes At Dayton Ballet's Nutcracker

Dec 6, 2015
 The Dayton Ballet prepares for its 2015 production of The Nutcracker.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is a magical ballet. With dozens of parts for children (mice, gingerbread men, sugarplum-fairy-attendants!), it’s an endearing work. But if you’re the choreographer—the person trying to organize all those dancers—it’s no easy task. Culture Couch producer Jason Reynolds takes us behind the scenes at the Dayton Ballet.

Hope Road performers rehearse for their upcoming show about Harlem.
Hope Road Organization

Theater at its best can address universal themes for the audience and the actors: the struggle for human dignity, relationships, conflict.

Whitaker’s photograph for “After the Moment” that he describes in the story:  “Playing with the Edge, page 70  Elliot&Dominick, 1979”
courtesy of Joel Whitaker

In the late 1980’s, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe’s exhibition “The Perfect Moment” fueled the fire of the so-called “Culture Wars” that pitted politicians like Senator Jesse Helms and the religious right against artists and museums in a battle over federal arts funding and first amendment rights.  When Mapplethorpe’s exhibit opened at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, the museum and its director were brought up on obscenity charges. Twenty-five years later, the museum, through a major exhibit and symposium, is considering the impact of those events on the arts in America.

Dayton Metro Library Operations Center Gives New Life To Hauer Music Building

Sep 16, 2015
An employee installs cameras on exterior of new north stair tower at the Hauer Music Building
Marika Snider / WYSO

A new Dayton Public Library Operations Center is about to open in the former Hauer Music Building. In 2012, the passage of the $187 million Libraries for a Smarter Future levy began an enormous construction and remodeling campaign of the entire Dayton Metro Library System.

World House Choir To Perform Mass for Mother Earth

Sep 9, 2015
Dorothy Smith

What happens when a choir director and 100 singers focus on climate change? This weekend, the World House Choir will present Missa Gaia: A Celebration of Mother Earth by Paul Winter. The music is both meditative and a call to action.

Dan Gummel / WYSO

This summer Project Jericho, a non-profit housed at Clark State in Springfield, hosted a free arts camp for local youth. They hired professional artists from around the country to teach.

We Care Arts Serves As Studio, Safe Space For Disabled Artists

Jul 26, 2015
American Flag by Mallory Holler, a local painter who is legally blind, deaf, and quadriplegic.
Jason Reynolds / WYSO

Vincent Van Gogh said that brushstrokes are like speech. And if an artist is disabled  and cannot make art, they are silenced. Anyone who knows about We Care Arts in Kettering knows that they burst these confines and help hundreds of people with disabilities to create on canvas, in clay, with cloth, and more. Last year, some 1,300 people took classes or worked in their studio.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman

"Arts For All" Event Tries To Open Up Theater To Kids With Autism

Jul 22, 2015
Left to right: Maggie Knopp, Amelie Maruyama, Merida Kuder-Wexler, Mateo Basora, Lucy Dennis, Oskar Dennis, and Kira Hendrickson wait to go onstage for a run-through of "The Farm" at the Amphitheater in Yellow Springs.
Kijin Higashibaba / WYSO

When you go to the theater, there are rules: sit still, don’t make noise, and clap at the end. If you get up to leave, you're often not let back in until intermission.

People on the autism spectrum can have a lot of trouble with those rules, which is why many Broadway shows have altered performances to make them more accessible. Now the Yellow Springs Kids Playhouse (YSKP) is following suit with Arts for All, a special production of their summer show “The Farm.” Organizers say it’s the first performance of its kind in the Dayton area.

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