Richardson: Sharing Toledo love, on a national levelWritten by Rachel Richardson | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In Toledo, we’ve grown accustomed to nonstop action. Every day of the week offers something to get into and on the weekends there are almost too many happenings to choose from, each one presenting culture, art and activism.
This winter kept up with that spirit so much that I am pressed to find time and space to process it all. The distance required for true clarity has me craving a trip.
Synchronicity has decided that it will be to Washington, D.C.
A woman whose courage astounds me made a huge move there a couple of months ago to stretch her law degree and talents in ways that were not presenting themselves here and, surprising even myself, I fully supported the relocation.
Little did I know that soon after her departure I would take advantage of her company, apartment and new life to create for myself an art tour in our nation’s capital.
So on a fairly quiet weekend between the inaugural Toledo SOUP (which was an enormous success), The Mix Perspective, Toledo’s first Pecha Kucha (Look it up: it’s at Manhattan’s on March 31) and the joyfully impending “Works” Show at Bozarts and Arts Commission’s Artwalks, ACT is taking a weekend getaway.
In the past year, I have traveled more than I have in my whole life. Whether it was the plan, each trip has become a fact-finding mission about the art and culture of whichever city I would visit. New cities have filled my head with ways to show Toledo a little more love, which is my reason for living. To love Toledo is a powerful thing. To love Toledo as it is compared to the downtown of another city is overwhelming.
And to see Toledo for the first time when arriving home after time spent in another city is more emotional than I can describe.
I look forward to re-creating that feeling and to do all of the things between now and when that happens next. In D.C., there is a place called the Toledo Lounge. I am finding that most of the country’s knowledge of our magical town is limited to the very endearing Jamie Farr and Tony Packo’s. Both are institutions, granted, but pretty stale as far as notoriety goes.
One of my goals during my visit is to make the Toledo Lounge aware of what is really, currently noteworthy about the city from which it borrows its name.
Yes, I have heard of Toledo, Spain, and have considered that the Lounge has heard of it, too. Maybe I’ll visit there someday.
But, for now, my pride dispersal is limited to North America.
Part of the plan for the Toledo Lounge is to give it real memorabilia and evidence of Toledo by donating stickers and items from local businesses and creators.
I’ve put a call out to friends at Toledo.com and JUPMODE but if there is anyone reading this who would like to contribute to the cause, let’s cut out the middle person and how about you just mail the items? Tell them it’s with love from Toledo, Ohio. The address of Toledo Lounge is: 2435 18th Street NW Washington, D.C., 20009.
Another reason I am drawn to Washington is a recent brush with leadership in the form of a chance grocery store encounter with Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Never being one to pass up an opportunity to be a little pushy and strange (just ask Mayor Mike Bell about how many times I’ve invited myself into his space while he’s trying to eat lunch), I approached Rep. Kaptur at Kroger a few weeks ago while she filled water jugs and we had a very nice talk about the arts in Toledo.
Admittedly and willfully ignorant of the ways of politics and politicians — I still know Rep. Kaptur as an ally to the Toledo artist community and my heart thumped for hours after our conversation.
The idea of dipping into her world of marble and grand buildings makes me feel insignificant in my anticipation. That bodes well for the actual trip, since that’s exactly why I’m going.
A trip to the mountains in Colorado last summer taught me that sensation. I get glimpses of it each week at the Toledo Museum of Art and the Valentine Theatre. To be a quiet, nameless observer of things that are much bigger than me is the objective.
That and to infuse a little ToledoLOVE on a national level.
Email artist and activist Rachel Richardson at email@example.com.