Dayton is home to some amazing inventors: Creative men and women that brought the world ice cube trays, pop tops, LEDs and, oh yeah, the airplane.

So is it that hard to imagine that the next Spiderman, Hulk or Wolverine could come from a Dayton artist just waiting for their chance to shine?

According to Cultural Arts Manager Shayna McConville, the Rosewood Arts Centre and the Gem City Comic Festival organizers don’t think so. “We’ve teamed up to inspire the next generation of amazing comic art creators right here in Dayton.”

The two organizations developed a weekend of WOW! and BOOM! comic-filled excitement for enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy all that the genre has to offer.

Dayton Knows Comic Art

Comics had an early start in the U.S., but really gained in popularity in the 1920s with the advent of newspaper comic strips and opinion-based comics. Thanks to those exciting superheroes of the 1930s, comics gained tremendous success developing an entire counterculture of readers craving adult content and alternative comics. Today, the genre includes the expansion in extremely popular graphic novels for all ages.

The Gem City is no stranger to the appeal of comic art. After all, we are the home of Cathy Guisewite, creator of the Cathy comic strip, and Mike Peters, who is known for Mother Goose + Grimm and his political cartoons. Other comic artists from the Dayton area include:

Kyle Hotz - An artist who has worked for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Malibu

Craig Boldman - An artist and writer who worked for DC and Archie Comics

Chad Lambert - A writer with Dark Horse Comics

Scott Bachmann – Writer and publisher of Scott Comics

Justin Wasson - An independent and freelance artist

Heidi Black - An independent and freelance artist

Todd Biestel - An independent and freelance artist

Bruce O. Hughes - An independent and freelance artist

The Gem City Comic Con Festival, March 28-29 at the Nutter Center, will feature several current and popular artists in the genre for a weekend of meet and greets, merchandise sales and more. Comic Book Artist Arlen Schumer, one of the foremost historians of comic book art—Comic Book Artist magazine named him “one of the more articulate and enthusiastic advocates of comic book art in America”—will be the featured speaker at this year’s event. His appearance is sponsored by Rosewood Arts Centre.

“On April 4, Arlen will come to Rosewood for Comic Book Studio Day,” McConville says. “This is our third annual event and features 90-minute workshops with illustrators teaching the basics of comic book creation. Kids and adults love this event.”

Bringing Art to the Community

Located behind the Kettering Rec Center on Olson Drive, Rosewood Art Centre’s 39,000-square-foot facility in a former elementary school building is home to artist studios, galleries and specialized spaces, including dance, ceramics and glass studios. With the old dishwashing-room-turned-darkroom, two specialized kilns and rentable studio space with 24-hour access, the facility has a lot to offer both established and budding artists.

The center is dedicated to enriching the quality of life for the residents of Kettering and the greater Dayton area by providing creative experiences through the arts. A division of the City of Kettering’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts, Rosewood features a unique blend of painting, ceramics and more.

“No one else in Dayton offers the full extent of arts, performing arts and humanities programming that we do,” shares McConville, the center’s only full-time employee. “Not only do we offer a full range of visual arts, but also dance, acting, a children’s theater and choir, and even foreign language classes.”
McConville adds that Rosewood is lucky to have the support of the community through a local tax levy, which helps keep costs low for residents, as well as funding support from the Ohio Arts Council.
“With nearly 400 classes a year, we have an average of 80,000 Dayton and Miami Valley residents participating in classes, gallery exhibitions, theater performances, drop-in studio visits, special events and festivals every year.”
Rosewood Arts Centre organizes several major events each year, including Art on the Commons, Art on the Playground, A Rosewood Holiday Open House and, of course, the upcoming Comic Book Studio Day.

Arts for All Ages and of All Kinds

Along with Comic Book Studio Day, Rosewood will host a series of events for artists and art lovers of all ages over the year.

On March 8, Bill Franz—known as the creator of Dayton at Work and Play—will open an exhibition in the gallery. Throughout the year, the center hosts Drink and Draw events with Clash Consignments and its popular Paint and Wine at Figlio Restaurant in Town & Country. They even offer an open level yoga class in the gallery at the center once a month.

“Artists of all kinds will find a spot at Rosewood, even those who don’t know they are artists yet. Our job is to inspire all kinds of creativity,” McConville adds. “Who knows? Maybe the next great illustrator of our time will come from right here in Kettering. We would love that!”

Find out more about available classes or to register for the Comic Book Studio Day, call 937-296-0294 or emailing rosewood@ketteringoh.org.