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How the Capital of Funk Is Fighting to Keep Its Legacy Alive

Dayton, Ohio, has long been ground zero in the world of funk. Now, with venues shutting down, it’s battling to keep that reputation alive.

When Dayton’s Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center — aka the Funk Center — opened in December 2017, locals delighted in it marrying a proud musical tradition with hope for the revival of a city long down on its luck. Built to celebrate the Ohio city’s reputation as ground zero of the funk world, the center drew volunteers and experts from the Netherlands, Japan and the U.K. and superstar names from Dayton’s 1970s and ’80s funk scene, who pieced together the decades-old instruments, records and memorabilia on display. Tickets to the opening ceremony sold out in days.

But 18 months later, the Funk Center finds itself without a home. The building that housed it is under renovation and its owner, who originally offered the space for free, is now asking for rent the museum can’t afford. “I was surprised and shocked,” says David R. Webb, Funk Center president and CEO. And the Funk Center isn’t the only monument to Dayton’s place in funk history to shutter recently.

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Tags: #funk, #music
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