Why collaboration at UD’s ArtStreet is helping Dayton innovate via Dayton.com

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How many times have you walked into a full classroom where passion to change the world is palpable?

Every now and then we get the individual standout. The prodigy that makes you say to yourself, “He’s going to be something,” or “She’s the next Steve Jobs.”

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Walk into ArtStreet at The University of Dayton this summer. You’ll be amazed to find 12 students, OutKast’s “Hey Yah” playing in the background, and a place where everyone can be Steve Jobs.

So what exactly is ArtStreet? Any research about the program quickly tells you that it’s focused on providing students with multidisciplinary perspectives, unique spaces, residential living, innovative curriculum and life-changing arts experiences.

Representing over 10 different majors like mechanical engineering, sports management, business, graphic design and biology, ArtStreet has been designed to foster collaboration across disciplines.

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This is not where you go to think inside the box. It’s not even a place you go to think outside of the box. You go to eliminate the box and step out of the comfort zone to solve problems. Students are involved in projects to make people in the Dayton community more engaged, that will potentially be pitched and adopted by the City of Dayton and other areas. ArtStreet is a place where everyone can make a difference, prodigy or not—where you get to see true innovation happening before your eyes.

You might ask yourself: What is innovation?

Junior Arts Education student Rose DeFluri says it “means living for a better tomorrow.”

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DeFluri, along with 11 other students, are engrossed in multi-level innovation projects, one called Project Gem City.

Project Gem City is a public art installment, outlined and built by the students, and used as a means of exploring and engaging public opinion interactively. The enormous three-dimensional gem is almost seven feet tall and nearly five feet wide. Written at the top are Dayton centered prompts addressing ideas and concerns of the Dayton community. On the sides – its most prominent feature – will be YOUR suggestions and thoughts about the prompts provided.

The Gem is being publically unveiled July 17 at the Yellow Cab Food Truck Rally, where it will be moved from Courthouse Square.

They’re all involved in a pretty unconventional process to help solve the big problems in the city and help propose solutions to areas of concern. For more information on their experience and the process, you should visit their blog.

DeFluri added that innovation is “not only developing something new, but expanding upon what you’ve already done in order to improve the future.”

Project Gem City is doing exactly that, by using the ideas of the community and hopefully expanding upon them for future projects.

After speaking with other students, anyone would notice a theme of innovation beginning to take shape, centered on thinking beyond traditional parameters.

Recent grad and former Mechanical Engineering major Andrew Arnett said that innovation is all about “taking things that you didn’t think were going to relate, and relating them.”

Brian LaDuca, Director of ArtStreet, is the explosive facilitator of these projects aimed at utilizing and harvesting the breeding ground of innovation: young minds.

It’s all a part of his mission to help improve Dayton and the world, and the ideas come from people younger than your average Fortune 500 CEO.

LaDuca’s method is simple. When developing what ArtStreet is today, he set out to answer this question:

“What happens if creative thinking and creativity was able to go across all majors of study, across our University?”

Then, a follow-up question:

“What happens when the ArtStreet at the University of Dayton becomes kind of like an app for a student’s degree in the 21st century?”

LaDuca strives to help the University of Dayton become a place where any student can pick and choose their interests and expertise in a way that can be molded for the benefit of the city.

From these questions, he developed a formula:

Creative Perspective + Creative Confidence + Innovative Application = ArtStreet 

Partnering with LaDuca and ArtStreet is another program focused on civic innovation in Dayton: The Collaboratory.

Director of the Collaboratory Peter Benkendorf and Director of Community Initiatives AJ Ferguson (who also happens to the the Executive Director of UpDayton) are also facilitators of the student-driven project.  The team makes for an innovation trifecta centered on unconventional thought, creativity and practical solutions for a better Dayton.

The ArtStreet + Collaboratory project is an ongoing process. Students have to reach complex goals involving improvements to urban design, ways of educating people about their cities, and techniques to improve public safety.

Here at Dayton.com, we do our best to let you know what’s going on in the city: what to know, what to do, and what to love. ArtStreet aligns with the mission by highlighting, educating and showcasing the stellar innovation efforts within the Dayton area—the birthplace of new ideas and innovation.

As a part of this mission, we are following these students and their projects as they evolve, and following the many other noteworthy innovative missions driving this community.

Stay tuned for our latest stories aimed at positive change and boundless innovation within the Dayton area.



6 Days to Go


As the ending of the Collaboration Accelerator 1.0 is coming to an end (Friday, July 31) the summer challenge team has been working very diligently to finish the gallery space for the grand opening.

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On Friday July 31st, ArtStreet will be hosting the summer challenge team. They are opening the gallery space as a final installation piece showing their journey of the summer, including: What they have learned about Dayton this summer, what they have learned working together, what they would like Dayton to look like in the year 2050, and in general the process and finish product of these past 11 weeks together.






The Final Installation Update

A New Adventure For Everyone:


A trip to Mendelson’s, there’s a first for everything.. The summer challenge team headed to Mendelson’s with the goal of buying most of their products for the final installation recycled and local. For most it was their first time visiting this local liquidation outlet, in awe they followed the people who had been there before, going in and out of aisles, up and down the elevator, and to both buildings. A true Dayton gem indeed.

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Describing Mendelson’s in one word:


Curbside Treasures










How many times have you been to Mendelson’s, Elise?

As I am an engineering student Mendelson’s is a perfect place to find any piece you need. I have been there a handful of times now and each time I go back I am surprised at the new things I find.

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Very unique place! The third floor is filled with surplus electronic components and devices. You won’t leave empty handed!

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You are guarenteed to find any and every piece you need in this wonderland of inauspicious goods. Anything from mirrors, old windows, LED lights, to tires, you’ll find in these 2 three story buildings.

The Gallery Space Coming Together:


And the construction begins..

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An open invite to the final installation on Friday July 31st, 2015 ArtStreet Gallery Space



Project Gem City is Now in Full Force

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Please join us tonight (July 10th at Summer in The City 5pm-8pm, where we reveal our gem at Courthouse square.

If you cannot make it tonight, join as at Yellow Cab Friday July 17th for a bit to eat from the food trucks, music and poetry from The Gathering, and our gem to interact with.

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Why does Dayton Inspire you?

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What can Dayton do for you?

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What can you do for Dayton?





Will you join us in spreading the pride of Dayton to uplift our community for a better world?



The Last IAN Session for The Summer Challenge Team


What is IAN?

“A new creative process to evaluate previous ideas in a fresh and innovative way that will allow us to view concrete ideas as more fluid”


IAN, the Institute for Arts Nexus*, is ArtStreet’s new experimental pilot curriculum. Developed from the former ArtStreet Experience mini-course, ArtStreet’s course offerings have been divided into two IAN courses during the regular semesters: UDI 371 (open to all students) and UDI 372 (ArtStreet residents only). The goal of the IAN is to empower a forward-thinking 21st century student with the ability to confidently develop the imaginative and creative skills necessary to excel and impact today’s innovative and global workforce regardless of degree focus.

* nexus noun \’nek-ses\
: a relationship or connection between people or things

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To empower a new generation of University of Dayton students to harness the power of the Imagination – Creativity – Innovation Continuum and apply it to their degree-focused academic development.



Through applied creative training, the student’s idea of what is and what can be in both their field of study and the world they live in will broaden in imagined and innovative ways.










When artistic fusion and imagined perspectives are put to use within the academic frameworks of high education the student will now have the creative confidence to not only project possible solutions to unique obstacles but will have the earned and trained wherewithal to speak about the limitless creative ideas in their fields.

The Collaboratory’s internship for the summer of 2015 that is partnered with the Air Force Research Lab and the University of Dayton meshed with ArtStreet’s IAN program and incorporated it into their summer curriculum. The summer challenge team engaged in this program every Wednesday since the start of the internship.


Who’s behind IAN?

Brian LaDuca

Brian LaDuca

Director, ArtStreet

Brian LaDuca is the former Managing Director of the Theatre and Performance Studies program at the University of Chicago where he also taught directing for the stage and arts management. His theatre credits include work at the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Northwestern University, and Bailiwick Chicago Theatre where he was Executive Director from 2010 through 2012. His masters thesis, Directing Six Degrees of Separation: Multimedia in Contemporary Theatre, is currently published by Lambert Academic Publishing. Brian’s current work focuses on using the multidisciplinary nature of art as a tool to innovate and impact the evolving conscience of America and its 21st century culture and belief systems. ArtStreet is the resource for such immersive and creative conversation and art will be that catalyst needed to brave such theory and thought.


M.F.A., Directing for the Stage and Screen, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

B.F.A., Performance Studies (Directing & Producing), University of Illinois – Urbana

Adrienne Ausdenmoore

Adrienne Ausdenmoore

Associate Director, ArtStreet

Adrienne (Niess) Ausdenmoore has been working at ArtStreet since it opened in 2004, and has served as Associate Director since 2011. She oversees all marketing and communications for ArtStreet, and works closely with the Arts Leadership Group to develop and implement arts marketing strategies across campus. She also serves as chair of the AALI Web and Communications Team.


M.B.A., Business Administration, University of Dayton

B.F.A., Visual Communication Design, University of Dayton

Where is IAN held?


IAN is held at ArtStreet on University of Dayton’s campus.

Mailing Address:
ArtStreet, University of Dayton
300 College Park
Dayton, OH 45469-2620

Physical Address:
330 Kiefaber Street
Dayton, OH 45409

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What the Summer Challenge Team thinks of IAN…


“I thought it was useful to get your mind working in a different space.”

“Creative thinking, outside of the box, working in a creative space to get creative results.”

“Overarchingly, IAN has taught me that I know I have the ability to relate and convey information… It has taught me how to relay information to what others know. Meaning, everyone has a different problem and solution process… This has taught me to identify the best way people can recieve information, and how I can creatively convey that information….. IAN is the sh*t!”

“This is the door to a creative outlet, it opens your mind to new possibilities and allows you to interpret in a different light… and ideas in a different light.”

“Allowed me to strecth my way of thinking and help to formulize a creative process for me… Because before I thought creativity was just off the wall ideas. It’s allowed me to recognize when I see something that is creative, I can now understand why it’s creative and analyze why someone thought the way they did to creat that something. The most valuable thing I got out of this is using improbable material to create unexpected outcomes.”

“The end ideation.”



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Our Gem In Process



A continuation of #DaytonInspires

The Premise of Project Gem City:

The inspiration for the project came from a number of places, but mostly started when exploring the revitalization efforts of the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The members of CreateHere, which is a parallel to The Collaboratory, used urban art as a way to explore the public opinions on a number of questions. They achieved this by creating an interactive chalkboard installment in the city. The CreateHere team constructed a large cube that was placed in a number of different areas around the city where different community members were able to see and interact with the installment.

We would like to do something similar through the creation of a large three dimensional gem. The gem would be close to seven feet tall and nearly five feet wide at its largest point. The installation would be constructed of 2×4’s and finished plywood sheets. The gem would be painted with black chalkboard paint allowing community members to write freely on any of the eight lower sides. The top sections of the gem would be reserved for the prompts we develop, our project logo and the logos of The Collaboratory as well as UpDayton. The structure would be completely freestanding and would monitored by one of the project member during the initial installation and for a number of days after. We have the ability to store the installation at night but would hope to leave it in a set location for a number of days at a time.

We would like to have the first installment displayed in Courthouse Square on Friday the 26th of June. We are willing to work with you on where to display the gem but we would ideally set up on the east side of the fountain, towards the stage.

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Who We Are
The Collaboration Accelerators consist of twelve students from the University of Dayton with diverse backgrounds and different fields of study.  Collaboration Accelerators discover and define the challenges and opportunities within the Dayton community.   Accelerators promote change by directly engaging in civic activities, and by experiencing the regional assets.  Most importantly, they seek to solve connectivity gaps within the Dayton area, and by doing so, they hope to promote a perpetual change that instills long lasting passion and pride for residents as well as visitors. By pairing individuals with different missions and niches, the potential for unbelievable outcomes skyrockets.  This credo outlines the actions and mentality of the group.  This credo IS The Collaboratory.

The Real Deal

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Project Gem City’s Future

We would like to expand on this idea and create a number of different gems throughout the city. We would also like to connect with local artists and inspire them to create a gem in their own vision. One of the reasons the gem shape was chosen for this instalment is unique structure, color and shape of gems. No one gem is the same as any other, and the same is true for the people of Dayton, as they all bring unique talents to the table. Allowing these unique talents and traits to be expressed publically would allow artists to own their work and express themselves freely on a public forum, and reach a larger audience in a new way. Other cities have similar urban art programs but they lack a bond with the city and fail to reach their full potential. Applying the tag line of “Gem City” and pushing the gem shape, Dayton could create an urban art following that would rival any city.

Along with the boost in the urban art scene, local businesses could benefit as well. The city is full of assets that are underutilized and often overlooked. These “Gems” could be more openly advertised with a rendition of this project. When traveling to a new city, I don’t go to the visitors bureau to see what I should check out, I ask around on the streets or on the internet or through some phone app. These sources are entirely crowdsourced and often lead to the best discoveries. The Dayton version of this system would use the visual of gems as our tourist platform. Invision small gems outside of restaurants, shops and other attractions that serve as “The Dayton Stamp of Approval” for tourists and visitors. Seeing a gem outside of a shop would signal that this shop can offer more information about the city and be able to point visitors in the right direction. This system would dismantle the typical tourist visit to a city, and allow visitors to feel more apart of the community as opposed to an intruder into it.


Sample Prompts

  1. If you could have a new restaurant in Dayton, what would it be?
  2. If you had a day to do anything in Dayton, where would you go?
  3. If Dayton could be world famous for one thing, what would you want it to be?
  4. If you had unlimited funding, what would you develop/change in the city?
  5. What do you miss in Dayton?
  6. What is the best restaurant in Dayton?

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A Glimpse Of The CityFolk Celebration 6.27.15

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Daytonians spent the day with us listening to music, sampling delicious food and helping us to celebrate Dayton’s much loved (and sorely missed) summer festival.

Where Was It Located?

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Who Performed?

The Music Schedule:

1:00 Seefari
2:15 Acarya
3:15 Corndrinkers
4:15 Paige Beller
5:30 Celtic Academy of Irish Dance
6:15 Blackbirds
8:00 Gem City






Paul Lawrence Dunbar poetry reading…


Paige Beller…

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Celtic Academy of Irish Dance…

Video #1:


Video #2:



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Who Celebrated:


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The Collaboratory During CityFolk:


A You Are Here Installation by Glenna Jennings


Music and Community Unite:


Why You Should’ve Gone AND Should Go Next Time:

by Dayton.com

1. The event will feature a wide range of music, ranging from reggae band Seefari and the Celtic Academy of Irish Dance to acoustic artist Paige Beller and a bluegrass quintet, the Corndrinkers. The show also features tribal rock duo Acarya, americana act the Blackbirds and retro-soul group Gem City.

2. Be sure to visit the massive “You Are Here” selfie station, provided by Dayton Collaboratory.

3. Outside of the huge and eclectic lineup of bands that highlight the show, there will be food vendors, beer and crafts for kids.

4. A tent featuring recited poetry of Paul Lawerence Dunbar, with Joyce Barnes from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Committee, will be on display during set changes. 

5. Best of all, all of this live entertainment, food and activities are FREE of charge and will go on rain or shine!

Read the whole article here: http://www.dayton.com/news/events/reasons-go-cityfolk-celebration/nmk8k/

Who Captured It All:

The camera crew..


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Most Photos by Jim Pisarowicz

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Welcoming The Victory Project Into Our Space 6.24.15


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The Collaboratory met with 3 young men and their leader from the Victory Project and two men from The Rivers Institute that are partnering with the Victory Project this summer for a summer challenge (discussed later). We helped them ideate and brainstorm on what a local buisness is and what makes it successful.

The Victory Project’s Mission: [Without government funding] Empower young men to discover the life God intended by mastering self-awareness, self-sufficiency and selfless service, building an uncommon alliance with uncommon youth for uncommon results.

Their Location:

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The Collaboratory’s Brain Storming Session With The Victory Project:

Marketing, Finances, Employees, Operations, and Life Long Learning

Why did you choose this group?

“I want to become a young entrepreneur

“I want to learn about businesses”

“I can benefit from things this group can offer”

“It sounds more fun than going out and biking… how to learn a buisness”


End Goal : Buisness plan for a small business/ bike shop


What do we know about small buisness:

-breakfast diners

-spread community wise

-locally wise – example: corner store

Why would people own a buisness:

to become successful in life success as in being a graduate from college, owning a buisness, financially stable

define a problem in the world, and see how you can fix it

think how you can help other people too – community need

fill a need


What buisness would you open that is driven by passion:

Personal protection for belongings

Arts related, a studio

Helping Seniors

Water Bottle with a Cause

Business that’ll make the most $$:

Finding Lost Item

Gaming System

Community Need:



Example: Teen Hangout

To keep them off the streets..

video-games, wifi, food

peer-to-peer mentoring

near a school

business incubator










Crash! @ ArtStreet 6.18.15 & The Importance of Networking


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The Importance of Networking and Group Collaboration For Us:

“Networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships.”

-As stated from the Strategic Business Network

By Rose DeFluri
What is a crash? According to the fourth definition of the word. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, crash means to move forward aggressively. To be honest, that’s the most fitting description of the word for our purposes. Working in conjunction to the Institute for Arts Nexus has taught us (being the collaboration accelerators) to grasp on to an idea and CRASH! When hosting a crash event, we take our ideas and run with them in this hypothetical relay of thoughts.
Our first experience as a group hosting a crash was amazing. We brought all of the collaborators together with the shakers and movers of Dayton. The dynamic, the energy and the enthusiasm we all share for Dayton gives me hope for the rest of this summer.

First you need to find what you’re trying to accomplish yourself by networking, then the next question to ask who else is trying to do what I’m trying to do? Or has this already been accomplished? If so what are the suggestions I may recieve? The 12 of us through the Collaborator Accelerator program thought we had a wide range of knowledge and ideas but it turns out “the more the merrier.” The key component is to bounce ideas off of one another. Ultimately networking is a valuable asset in any project.

-Chris Lippiello

Networking is a chance to find interest in other people’s work and create bonds that will propel your own work forward. When people invest time in other people they’re more receptive and willing to assist you in the future.

-Andrew Arnett


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Why Should We Network?

Learn dynamics within your industry
Establish your business contacts
Get “plugged in” to your community
Seek new career opportunities
Facilitate win-win relationships
Create your referral networks
Accelerate your professional development
Develop knowledge resources
(from the Strategic Business Network)

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The crash was probably the best thing that we have done in the internship to date. The atmosphere in the room was so awesome. I met more useful contacts here than I think I have in a while. The community members that we brought in were just right. The young energetic professionals had a ton of insight and raw energy. The older professionals had the knowledge and experience to justify or dismantle ideas. I think a lot of the success we will have this summer can be attributed to this one event.

-Andrew Arnett

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It was great to hear what they are thinking about and what they would help us with if we tried it. It was also great to hear what people had tried and what worked or did not work. These people were so passionate and had such great stories that it was obvious that they just want to make Dayton a better place.

-Keri Martz

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…This was very successful.  The crash is exactly what we needed because it allowed us direct person-to-person contact with individuals that are active in the community and who are already working with each other.  We now have so many fantastic POC’s for future partnerships.

-Andrew Harbach