The Dialogue National Tour in Warren, OH
We arrived in Warren late tonight during a tornado watch and spectacular thunderstorm. After driving around 10 hours from New York, we are feeling a bit tired tonight, but relieved to make it this far as we are heading West again.
Our visit to Warren was sparked by a chance meeting with John Taylor who saw Dialogue set-up in Union Square in San Francisco, while on vacation with his family. He loves the project and helped bring us to Warren.
Bobbie Brown of the Fine Arts Council of Tumbull County and John Taylor (and family) couldn't have given us a warmer welcome! On our arrival, the hotel gave us (via Bobbie Brown) a "care box" of water bottles, snacks, area information and more. Trumbull Arts also sponsored our hotel rooms and provided a stipend to help take care of travel costs. Being so far from home, gestures like this energize us and make us feel well cared for.
Our first installation day in Warren was a bit wet. Showers off and on all day. But luckily, Bobbie set up a huge tent for us (our table, Brio, Jerri and Guy) to stay dry under. The screens got a bit wet, but that helped wash some of the dust that had accumulated during our installations in previous cities. The local media came down and gave us quite a bit of good, live coverage on their morning news casts. Although at 5am, I was not feeling the most articulate.
There were not many people down to view the project today due to the weather. I'm wondering if all of Bobbie Brown's work went to waste since the weather seems to have shut us out. We did meet a wonderful girl, Megan, who stood out in the rain for over an hour reading the screens. She came to our tent soaked and we were interested in hearing why she was braving the elements to view the project. She told us that this was the worst day of her life (she lost her high school Junior class presidential bid), but coming across Dialogue changed all that for her. It's very satisfying to hear how Dialogue can positively effect people.
During today's second installation day, we had perfect weather! And lot's of people came down to view the project (see photos). We saw Megan today again too. She was down with friends and looking very happy and sunny. What a difference a day can make...
Thank you again to the Taylor family and Bobbie Brown for extending such a supportive, warm welcoming to us!A few of the local TV news stations came down to do stories on Dialogue. As well as newspapers:
The Warren, OH Scene from The Award-Winning Documentary that Followed the National Tour
Mike and I love thunderstorms, and Warren really greeted us with a real winner! We got into our hotel room after getting quite a soaking. Turned on TV to hear the announcer warn we were in a Tornado Watch, and instructed viewers to go into the bathroom with blankets and pillows and wait it out.
Instantly, Mike and Bret loped out the door with the video camera heading for the park. Blake and I watched in bemused consternation. Perhaps we'll see them flying past the window... But no, they returned intact, a little disappointed that they didn't get to video a tornado.
To me, Warren Ohio was all about Bobbie Brown, who was the angel setting up the nice, canvas shelter that greeted us and gladdened our wet little hearts under deluge conditions.
And the next day, she was the first one to greet us at 4:30 a.m. in between storms and just before the news crew came... in the dark. And she stayed with us, the whole three days being our steadfast guardian angel, city guide and all-round hostess.
I will never forget the flushed, dark-eyed teenage girl who walked up to us and with a kind of unstable, awkward urgency, asked, "Can you take me to the hospital? It's an emergency." I froze, with no vehicle and no map. Bobbie gazed at her one second, said, "Sure. Come on," and walked her to her car and zoomed off. A few minutes later, she returned. That's the hometown, all-American spirit and Bobbie Brown.