Dayton’s arts scene is vibrant and contemporary, with visual and performance offerings to please arts lovers of all ages. Residents at Patterson Place and Rubicon Square are just steps from world class music, art, theatre, ballet and dramatic performance. Here is a snapshot of the best Dayton has to offer:
The Victoria Theatre Association, in partnership with the Arts Center Foundation, manages and operates The Victoria Theatre, the Loft Theatre, and the Metropolitan Arts Center, home of the Schuster Performing Arts Center.
The Victoria Theatre originally opened in 1866 as the Turner Opera House. After numerous incarnations over the years, it was nearly torn down in the seventies to make way for a parking garage. Grass roots fundraising to “Save the Victory!” rescued this architectural jewel. The Victoria Theatre was reopened in 1990 after a $17.5 million renovation.
The Victoria is home to the Dayton Ballet Company, the Muse Machine Youth Theatre program, and the Loft Theatre. Offerings each year include ballet performances, musicals, dramas and comedies from Shakespeare to Hammit, the Hot Nights Cool Flicks summer family movie series, lectures, small concerts, and the PNC Family series of kid friendly plays.
The Human Race Theater Company provides audiences with award-winning, cutting edge dramas, American classics and regional and world premieres. The Musical Theatre Workshop series expands the repertoire of enthusiastic musical audiences with brand new or seldom performed material. Education programs touch thousands of children, while engagement programs address the cultural needs of challenged individuals throughout the Miami Valley. Most works are now presented in the intimate setting of the Loft Theatre.
The curtain of the Schuster Performing Arts Center rose for the first time in January 2003. The Schuster hosts touring companies of the biggest hits on Broadway, recently including Wicked, The Lion King, and Mama Mia.
The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company performs original and world famous cutting edge modern dance in a variety of venues. On September 5th they are participating in “Street Beats” at the Carillon Park. DCDC invites everyone to get together outdoors and feel the beat in the heat. This family friendly event will feature food & craft vendors, Zumba demonstration, children’s activities & more. Special guest artists include: Chenaulte Dancers, SMAG Dance Collective, and Jay Martinez.
No review of our city’s performing arts would be complete without the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Dayton Opera Company. This year’s “New Horizons” season opened with a “Russian Panorama,” combining opera, ballet, and orchestral music. The Opera season continued with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, followed by Jake Heggie’s gripping Dead Man Walking and will climax with Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, featuring the full Dayton Ballet Company.
The visual arts scene in Dayton is equally rich in variety and opportunities. The Dayton Art Institute was modeled after the Villa d’Este near Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola in Italy, both examples of sixteenth century Italian Renaissance architecture. The museum’s collection has grown significantly over the years through generous gifts of artwork by local donors, including important European art, Asian art, and American fine and decorative art collections. The collection is now comprised of more than 26,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of art history. The museum has also built a tradition for presenting and organizing outstanding special exhibitions, such as the Chrysler Collection of French Paintings and the Rau Collection. The DAI also hosts lectures, musicals and receptions in its exquisite cloisters and galleries.
Oktoberfest is a highlight of the Dayton social year. Held on the DAI grounds, this community event proudly boasts a dazzling array of artisans, unique foods, ample domestic, international and craft beers, kid-friendly art activities, live music on two stages, international wines and so much more. This year’s event is September 26-28.
The Dayton International Peace Museum on Monument Avenue brings visual art in a more intimate setting. Their mission is to inspire a culture of peace in the world, which they pursue through special exhibits and educational outreach. The Peace Museum is currently hosting a regional quilt exhibit: “Quilting the Golden Rule.”
The Dayton Visual Arts Center is one of the region’s leading contemporary gallery spaces and artists’ organizations. In its 20th anniversary year, DVAC’s Annual Art Auction, held on April 25, 2014, attracted a record crowd of 593 guests, 118 works of art and a very impressive net revenue total of $75,000.
Lastly, let’s not forget about our children. The K12/TEJAS Gallery is a regional center for artists, aspiring artists and art patrons to connect through art experiences, education, public outreach, collaborative projects and gallery exhibitions for children, youth, and adults. These programs include summer art camps, field trips, professional exhibitions, workshops, art parties, after school, evening and Saturday classes. Their new 33,000 square foot space offers programs for youth Pre-K through 6th grade. The teen and adult studio TEJAS, which offers classes, exhibition and workshops for teens and adults, is currently working on a huge multi-sectional mural that is already lighting up their corner of South Jefferson Street. Cruise by and check it out!
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