Richardson: From my seat in the front rowWritten by Rachel Richardson | | email@example.com
In the past few months, we have covered a few choice and crucial messages pretty thoroughly. Toledo is full of artists and activists. Each group works to improve our corner of the world. They either beautify it with tangible work or they fight systems to make societal change.
Sometimes, if I am able to get my hands on them, they partner up to bolster their message and influence. From my seat in the front row, I can see clearly that this is what we do here and created Art Corner Toledo (ACT) in order to promote that.
We’ve talked about accomplished graffiti artists who are thrilled to be offered a public wall to paint. We’ve talked about government employees who are thrilled to have a piano to play during the work day. I’m confident that we’ve touched on the constant popping up of art galleries and social change agencies and the surge in attendance and enthusiasm surrounding the events and missions of each.
We’ve talked about how the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo is a highly visible and extremely valuable resource for artists and enthusiasts alike in providing an infrastructure to deliver opportunities to be involved in the Toledo culture.
What we have yet to mention here, and I admit I have been remiss in omitting them thus far, are the poets. My goodness! The poets!
I’m in the privileged position of having a direct personal connection to this population of artists due to a lifelong friendship with one of their most fervent Ambassadors. Michael Kocinski (my Best Man in my fantasy wedding and the honorary uncle of my imaginary children) has been writing poetry since we were pre-teens. And, finally, FINALLY, it’s a cool thing to do.
I kid, I kid.
It has always been moving for me to read his work. Even better to sit with his mom and sisters and listen to him read at places like Sam & Andy’s (in the olden days), or at Bowling Green’s Grounds for Thought. Recently, I swelled with pride while he read at the Center for Visual Arts on the campus of The Toledo Musuem of Art. To support Mike may have been the primary reason for my attendance at these events. But in the process, I have been exposed to countless other amazing writers.
All of these readings featured the work of, literally, generations of Toledo poets. From Nick Muska and Dr. Don to the very dearly loved and missed John Swaile to the young and fresh Caroline Gauger and Ryan Bunch (to name a very small sampling). As long as I’ve been aware, the Toledo poets have been creating. And just like the rest of the activists and artists in Toledo, they’re seizing the current climate to get their hands on changing the world.
A few of them, including my Michael, Jonie McIntire, and Adrian Lime have even created a new vehicle to do that very thing by combining poetry readings with donation and awareness drives for local charities and/or social service agencies. They even intend to hold their readings in strictly local businesses and art galleries.
That sounds right up ACT’s alley, wouldn’t you say? This literary venture will officially introduce itself on Saturday Dec. 11, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. at The Original Sub Shop located at 402 E. Broadway St. with a reading to benefit N.A.O.M.I. House. This agency provides shelter and aftercare to women recovering from substance abuse.
The poets ask that you bring a “daily use item” to donate as an entrance fee to the reading. A daily use item can be toothpaste, laundry detergent, or other hygiene items and will be gratefully received by the women of N.A.O.M.I. House.
The combination of culture and social consciousness that The Toledo Poetry Museum will provide for us in this one night is enough to warm the heart of this artist/activist all the way through December. And here is a super extra bonus. Your night will have just begun as you head over to the 4th Annual ‘Tis the Secor Party hosted by the Secor artists. And don’t forget Glass City Café for late night munchies after that. Just another perfect Toledo Saturday full of art and activism.