thoughts, theories, observations & informationSubscribe Now

If I Was In Charge of… City Life Sculptures in Dayton

For the second year in a row the City of Dayton, along with the Downtown Dayton Partnership, has brought in 20 of the magnificent bronze sculptures sculptures of J. Seward Johnson.  The sculptures are extremely lifelike.  They depict people, sometimes accompanied by animals and props, going about daily life in the city.  The detail is amazing – causing people to double take as they pass just to make sure that it really is a statue.  They have been widely successful in attracting attention and drawing people to visit downtown Dayton to check them out.  The city started a photo contest around the sculptures, which I think is brilliant.

Still, if I was in charge of the City Life Sculptures the first thing I would do would be to create a blog for each of them.  On each blog, the story of the person depicted in the statue would be told day by day.  This could be done as a creative writing project, where students from Dayton Public Schools could compete to earn the right to tell the fictional story of one statue.   The writings could focus on a different area of life each week, creating a framework for the project.  This could start with biographical information about where they grew up, where they live and work, what they see everyday, how they interpret it based on who they are, and what they hope to see in the future.  This would be a wonderful exercise in characterization and imagination.  By placing it in the context of a blog, readers could engage with the statues in conversation – truly bringing them to life.   This would be sort of a Canterbury Tales meets the Internet.  Each statue has a story, and each winner gets to tell it.   I think this would be an amazing opportunity to showcase young, creative talent, while simultaneously attracting additional attention to this amazing exhibit.

What would you do first if you were in charge of the City Life Sculptures in Dayton?

Downtown Dayton Partnership