EPIC Partners with local creative Dennis Sawan
In anticipation of our Birthday Bash from the Past, EPIC Toledo has collaborated with Dennis Sawan and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system to create the blended past/present photos you’ve seen all over social media. A Toledo native, Dennis is extremely passionate about the community and the revitalization of downtown. He graduated from The University of Toledo College of Law in 2012 and is a practicing personal injury attorney. He has also built a creative photography business called Right Half Media and has been an involved EPIC Toledo member for many years. We were lucky to snag a few minutes from his busy schedule to chat about his inspiration for the photos and his thoughts on the downtown Toledo revitalization!
Dennis Sawan: I’ve been shooting photographs for over 15 years, and I’ve always found myself drawn to urban architecture and aesthetics. I find that buildings really exemplify human potential, and they have a profound way of creating a sense of place and identity. As a result, cities inspire me. Toledo’s no different, it’s a unique place with a deep history. When I moved back home to Toledo for law school in 2009, a couple things dawned on me.
1. Toledo (Downtown in particular) had become a target for pessimism.
2. I knew I wanted to live there.
After over 6 years living Downtown, I’ve witnessed a lot of exciting progress. However, nothing really prepared me for this project. When we initially came to the decision about this event, we had some loose ideas about the history of the City. One thing that I think gets lost amongst abandoned buildings is the fact that they weren’t always that way. Scouring through historical archives at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, the sheer electricity of Historic Downtown became quickly apparent. As we accumulated photos, we began to realize the importance of pedestrian centers, both historically and today. Seeing over a hundred years of growth and excitement in Downtown Toledo had a huge impact on me. I live and have a law practice in Downtown Toledo, so my daily walk from place to place quickly became a projection of the past into the present. That was my inspiration to quite literally add the past to the present through this creative project. I hope people take away the same pride and optimism about the future of Toledo that I found while creating these. Understanding where we’ve been as a city is, in my opinion, the best way to dream about where we can go. As the saying goes, it’s not what we look at that matters, it’s what we see.
If you haven't already, please RSVP! We'd love to celebrate with anyone that shares and believes in the mission of EPIC Toledo. Experience the renewed energy of Toledo first hand in the renovated Hensville Fleetwood Building.
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