20×20 vision

Innovative presentation movement, PechaKucha

By Janell R. Ward

Photo: The final PechaKucha event of the year will take place Dec. 18

It was February of 2003 when two Tokyo-based architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, were tired of dealing with lengthy business presentations. Their frustrations urged them to begin a new format of presentations called PechaKucha 20×20; 20 images remain on a screen for 20 seconds. They couldn’t have known at the time this format of speaking and sharing ideas would captivate audiences worldwide.

The PechaKucha movement has also caught momentum here in Dayton. And audiences have one last chance to experience PechaKucha before the year is out. The theme for Dayton’s 21st PechaKucha presentation is “Home.” It will be held on Thursday, Dec. 18 at the Hope Lutheran Church in the Historic South Park neighborhood. The event starts at 7:30 p.m.

Nearly 700 cities have participated in this trend since 2003, and the number is on the rise. Since 2009, Dayton alone has hosted over 150 presenters and over 170 presentations. Jill Davis, who runs the PechaKucha event with Matt Sauer and Shayna McConville, said, “It’s a relaxed, fun event that brings many interesting people together, both as presenters and as audience members, who want to socialize and be inspired by innovative ideas and creative topics.”

Besides witnessing the phenomenal artistic expression of “20×20,” you will also have the chance to taste yummy pies from Dayton’s Original Pizza Factory. The cost of admission is free, but organizers are accepting donations of money or food items for Jeremiah’s Letter Food Pantry. Donations serve to provide essentials for the event.

The event will be emceed by Rodney Veal, an adjunct faculty member at Stivers School for the Arts and Sinclair Community College, as well as the host of ThinkTV’s The Art Show.

“We’d like you to enjoy an unpressured, unhurried evening with us,” organizer Jill Davis said. “Only your brain will be fizzing like gin.” There will be eight speakers, and several presenters. “It’s always a mix of presenters,” McConville said, “artists, designers, thinkers, doers, community enthusiasts, scientists, educators, etc. The variety is important to making the event dynamic, but we do lean towards presenting more artists and designers if possible.”

For Volume 21, speaker Rodney Veal will focus on the syndication of forms through video, movement and additional works. “I have a tendency to create installation pieces that allow for audiences to interact and engage with the work,” he said. “This promises to be a fun and informative session. I think we will all learn so much about hidden gems of the art scene in Dayton. I hope people take the time to come learn about and see cool artistic and cultural happenings in our community.”

Ben Riddlebarger, a local artist, will also be presenting and speaking on a reoccurring dream he has had for the past six years. “I have made a ton of drawings of it, and I hope it comes across [as] meaningful to others as it has been to me,” Riddlebarger said.

Riddlebarger has been involved with art since childhood. “I like art that immediately tells a story to me,” he said. “I try to do that with my work. I put just enough imagery and strange detail to help the observer go on a journey in their mind if they want to.”

PechaKucha is not only igniting love for art, but it is also uniting the community in Dayton. Volunteers in the Dayton community have made PechaKucha events possible – local designers and artists are commissioned for the posters, and even the equipment is loaned through community collaboration.

“PechaKucha is completely volunteer run and organized,” McConville said. “We really enjoy the many stories and people that come together for each event. You can learn something new while making new connections within our Dayton community.”

Are you interested in being involved with PechaKucha? With the event running four times a year, they are always looking for volunteers who would want to be showcased or speak on ideas and observations, the inspirations of art or the social phenomenon of popular cultural trends. “We always appreciate the volunteers who make each event unique and an incredibly fun night out,” McConville said.

PechaKucha will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18 at Hope Lutheran Church, 500 Hickory St. in Dayton’s Historic South Park neighborhood. The event is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, please visit pechakucha.org/cities/Dayton.

Reach DCP freelance writer Janell R. Ward at JanellRWard@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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