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'The Land of Funk' celebrates its place in music history

A group of people gathered on a sidewalk on the edge of Dayton's Oregon District. A woman is speaking into a microphone, and the people are applauding. A new blue street sign hangs on a utility pole.
Jason Reynolds
Artist Morris T. Howard holds a "Land of Funk Way" sign while Sharon Davis Gratto announces the new downtown street name.

Dayton has a lot of funk festivities going on this fall, and the first of those events was the renaming of a downtown street.

On Thursday afternoon, a large group gathered downtown to unveil a new street sign.

What used to be Stone Street is now officially “Land of Funk Way.” And that’s what a lot of people have wanted to call it since the Land of Funk mural went up in 2018. It was designed by artist Morris Horward, and a team of local youth artists helped him paint it.

The mural pays tribute to Dayton funk legends like the Ohio Players, Roger & Zapp and Lakeside.

University of Dayton Music Professor Sharon Davis Gratto organized the street renaming.

“I think Morris Howard deserves the recognition," she says. "And I wanted to have this happen to lead the way for the second Funk Symposium, which we’re having at the university."

The Funk Symposium runs November 3 through 6. It will feature funk line dancing and dance lessons. The Neon theater will screen Summer of Soul, and the Dayton Philharmonic will put on a funk performance.