Stivers grad, jazz group founder awarded $500
By Benjamin Kline Dayton Daily News
DAYTON – An outstanding visual arts graduate of Dayton Stivers High School, Djuna Wahlrab, and Tumust Allison, the founder of a group of Serious Young Musicians who play really cool jazz, were named winners Thursday of the 2001 Cradle of Creativity award, sponsored by retired advertising executive John J. Matthews through the Dayton Foundation.
Trophies and $500 cash awards were presented at the regular meeting of the Riverdale Optimist Club at the Engineers Club of Dayton, with 14 members in attendance and Maureen Pero, director of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, as a special guest.
Matthews, a Kettering resident, started the Cradle of Creativity award in 1998. A $10,000 fund at the foundation produces the annual income for the awards.
Matthews said he got his idea from a 1984 “Creativefest” sponsored by the old Downtown Dayton Association when he was president of that organization.
Wahlrab won photography and film awards as a Stivers student, including one for a video she produced for the Dayton Foundation. She is leaving soon for film school at New York University, according to her father, Tom, who accepted her award.
Allison, a teacher at Edison Elementary School, started Serious Young Musicians about five years ago to encourage children (average age was 11 back then) to explore and perform jazz in after-school settings. His group recently toured Tennessee and New York.
Allison said he would use the award money to buy equipment and supplies for the kids, most of whom are not well off financially. He also is seeking nonprofit status, which would enable SYM to participate in charitable fund campaigns.
“Music can change lives,” Allison said. A few members of his group performed for the Optimists.
Edward L. Marrinan III is coordinator of the Cradle of Creativity award for the Dayton Foundation.
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© Dayton Daily News 2001