The revitalization of Toledo’s downtown is the subject of Nick Corbin’s two-part documentary, Reclaiming Spaces. What began as Corbin’s work on a project for the Toledo Design Center became a larger endeavor, bringing a sampling of Toledo business owners into the discussion of what downtown could be.
Escaping Uncle Rico
The first episode has about 13,000 views on YouTube after several showings at downtown businesses. Corbin considers that significant “in terms of Toledo, because we can be extremely apathetic here, I think 13,000 is a lot,” he said. “I always say we have a small city attitude with big city problems.”
Born and raised in Toledo, Corbin has always loved the city, having the cityscape tattooed on his forearm when he turned 18. He sees the growth potential of the city, particularly the downtown area, but feels that some people have a hard time moving away from what used to make the city thrive.
“You remember the movie Napoleon Dynamite?” Corbin asked. “We’re Uncle Rico.” In other words, Toledo cannot go back to the way things were in its manufacturing heyday. “We need to move past that. We’re this former rust belt city that’s struggling for an identity,” he said.
The future of downtown development
“Arts & Culture” picks up where the first episode left off while exploring the art scene’s impact on Toledo’s downtown. Corbin delves into the sustainability of downtown dependent on the arts. Though he loves what is happening in terms of artists making a home in Toledo, he says that there needs to be something more for downtown to thrive: “The arts are the caviar that are going to bring people down here,” he said, “but caviar’s not a meal; you need something else.”
The second episode includes interviews with local politicians, business owners, and artists, all of whom have seen firsthand how difficult it can be to change people’s perspective on the potential of downtown Toledo. Corbin hopes that this film will not only get those who already live and work downtown interested in its development, but that everyone in Toledo will be willing to put energy into deciding what kind of culture to create here.
See Episode 1 and the trailer for “Arts & Culture” at reclaimingspacesfilm.com.
The second episode—“Reclaiming Spaces: Arts & Culture”—premiers at as part of the Maumee Film Festival at 2pm on Saturday, September 29.