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Music-Theater-Dance

Gaining Momentum: New downtown park ushers in arts and music festival

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    Attendees check out the park during the first concert in the ProMedica Summer Concert Series at the reopened Promenade Park on July 21.

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    Zac Weinberg of Toledo stands with his piece "Uncertainty in the Face of Doubt" which will be in "Momentum," a juried glass exhibition that coincides with the three-day Momentum festival in Promenade Park.

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    "C Y A" by Davis Hartman, which will be in the juried glass exhibition at "Momentum."

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    A detail of Water Fall, by Jennifer Hecker, which will be in "Momentum," a juried glass exhibition that coincides with the three-day Momentum festival in Promenade Park.

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    Part of the gallery space for "Momentum,."

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This weekend’s Momentum, the first festival to occur in the newly renovated Promenade Park in the heart of downtown Toledo, is about promoting the city’s cultural identity, organizers say.

Highlights of the free, three-day music and art festival include a concert Friday night with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, a juried glass art exhibition in newly renovated gallery space in the Secor Building, and live entertainment and interactive art programs in the park and throughout the Warehouse District on Saturday and Sunday.

VIDEO: A sneak peek at Momentum

The weekend event is a partnership between the symphony and the Toledo Arts Commission, with sponsorship by ProMedica, and a list of local businesses and philanthropic organizations. 

If You Go

Momentum | Weekend events include:

Friday, 7:30 p.m., A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Prince, Promenade Park

Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Glass, Music & Art Festival, Promenade

Saturday, 4:30-5:30 p.m., Hot Shots | AIGA, 705 Monroe St.

Saturday, 5:30-10 p.m., juried Glass Competition and Exhibition Opening Reception, Secor Building, 425 Jefferson Ave.

Saturday, 8:30 p.m.–1 a.m., Momentum After Dark in the Warehouse District

Information: theartscommission.org/momentum, toledosymphony.com, or hensvilletoledo.com

“We are a city that is rich in history with public art. We are the birthplace of the studio glass movement, we’ve got a world-class symphony, and then we’ve got this amazing new renovated park with all this outstanding public art that has just been commissioned,” said Marc Folk, executive director of the Arts Commission.

“It’s a collaboration, a partnership, activating the waterfront, elevating our local cultural heritage, and making everything as accessible to people as we can to really continue to use the arts around the energy of redevelopment that’s happening downtown.”

The event kicks off Friday night in the park with A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of Prince performed by the orchestra and members of Prince’s original backup band, the New Power Generation. Bowling Green artist Erwin Reidl will activate the corresponding light show, 50 Shades of Purple, on Tower of Light, his newly installed light and glass piece on the exterior of ProMedica’s new parking garage.

On Saturday and Sunday, the park will continue to be the platform for more live stage performances, interactive art demos and vendors, and food and drink trucks.

Those activities extend their cultural tentacles to other areas of downtown, including the Arts Commission’s juried glass exhibition and competition on the seventh floor of the Secor Building, a focal point of the weekend. The show opens at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with a reception and awards show with $10,000 in prizes.

The show is being judged by three jurors: Michael Killoren, executive director of the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, Fla.; international curator Jennifer Navva Milliken; and Raul M. Paredes, director of design at Owens-Illinois.

The Arts Commission received more than 600 submissions from around the world during a call for participation. The submissions were whittled down to 60 entries from 47 artists.

Zac Weinberg is one of 13 local artists chosen for the competition. A mixed media artist with a master’s of fine arts degree with a focus on neon glass, Weinberg has two works in the show: Mechanism for Spectacular Experiences and Uncertainty in the Face of Doubt, a glass tubing piece with the purposely misspelled word “Beleive,” a play off a person’s ability to cognitively understand the written word even if it’s not written accurately.

Weinberg, 31, came to Toledo about a year ago with wife, Joanna Manousis (also a glass artist with a piece in the show), to take a job as a technician in Bowling Green State University’s glass and sculpture facilities.

“What we found here was a very tight-knit community, especially in glass, so it’s really nice to be here and get to know all of those people, and be in the community where the glass movement began,” he said.

The glass exhibition will remain open at the Secor Building through Oct. 14.

Just before the competition at the Secor, another artist reception opens at 4:30 p.m. at AIGA. That show pairs about a dozen local glass artists and design agencies to create one-of-a-kind glass pieces inspired by each agency’s mission. The event will showcase projects such as a 37-foot community mural by artist Maura Amato, a mobile hot shop by Firenation Glass Studio, art demos by Toledo Twisted Iron, along with family activities and crafts visitors can get their hands into.

“I’m really excited about drawing people downtown into these spaces and watching people understand that what they travel to other places for is happening here, and that it’s open to them to participate in,” Folk said.

In an effort to keep the energy going, the Arts Commission partnered with the Warehouse District and Hensville to bring Momentum After Dark, featuring free live performances at more than 10 venues from 8:30 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday. The Commonheart will headline the festival and will perform on the Owens Corning stage at Hensville Park. That performance costs $5 to benefit future Momentum events.

Organizers expect this to be an annual event that could evolve or expand. For more information, go to theartscommission.org/momentum, toledosymphony.com, or hensvilletoledo.com.

Contact Roberta Gedert at rgedert@theblade.com, 419-724-6075, or on Twitter @RoGedert.

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