The drive-in is an icon of twentieth-century American entertainment. Since the height of their popularity in the ‘50s and subsequent decline as real estate costs rose and technology advanced, drive-in theaters have gotten creative — and even made a brief comeback as a socially-distanced, open-air pandemic pastime.
In a dark room sit clusters of circular wooden tables and chairs while a handful of vintage lamps radiate warm light. A red upholstered banquette runs along a dark wall, reminiscent of a century ago. But the focus of the room is a gleaming, black piano on a stage enveloped with red curtains, a platform designed to transport audiences to Toledo, Ohio’s golden era — and envision its next one.
In the early 20th century, Americans were infatuated with international (read: European) art, as people clamored to buy pieces by famous artists like Renoir and Monet. It wasn’t until 1919 that the first institute dedicated solely to American art opened in Youngstown, OH. The Butler Institute of Art is still one of Ohio’s most popular museums today, and the rich history of its founder, Joseph G. Butler Jr., led to the Institute’s focus on representation and access for all Americans.
Midstory is a 501(c)(3) non-profit thinkhub that progresses the narrative of the Midwest by incubating bright, diverse and interdisciplinary thinkers to exchange ideas and envision the future of our region through multimedia storytelling and solutions-oriented research since its founding in 2018.
As an educational media organization, we inform, interpret and inspire in and for the Midwest and believe that our region’s challenges can be our greatest asset to drive renewed interest and human capital into post-industrial cities.