Located in the downtown portion of Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton Art Institute (DAI) is a museum of fine arts and arts education center. Founded in 1919 and originally housed in a large home, the museum moved to a unique facility of its own in 1930. The building that houses the Dayton Art Institute was modeled after two Italian Renaissance structures: the Villa d'Este near Rome and Villa Farnese in Caprarola in central Italy. The building, designed by Edward B. Green, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Recently voted one of the nation's "Top 10 Art Museums for Kids'' by Parents Magazine, the 60,000 square-foot museum was renovated and expanded in 1996 and often plays host to some of the most renowned temporary art exhibits in the world. Recent examples include "Diana, A Celebration'' honoring the life and work of Princess Diana, and The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt.
The Dayton Art Institute's permanent collection numbers about 27,000 objects spanning more than 5,000 years of history. Galleries include African Art, which features the traditional arts of that continent representing a wide variety of ethnic groups; the Ancient Art gallery, which provides a look at works from the Cycladic, Etruscan, Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations; Asian Art including artwork from India, Tibet, China, Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia; Oceanic Art, featuring art of the South Pacific honoring deities, nature spirits, and ancestors; European pre-Columbian Art; and a large collection of photographic treasures including more than 5,000 pieces.
The Dicke Wing of American Art profiles the history of U.S. art from the Colonial Period to the 21st century. Collections include Colonial and Early Republic Art, 19th Century American Art, Turn-of-the-Century Art, Early 20th Century American Realism, Early 20th Century American Abstraction, Post 1945 Art, and Contemporary Art. Many different mediums are represented.
Similarly, the Berry Wing of European Art spans several centuries and includes Late Medieval and Renaissance Art, Prints and Drawings, Expressions of Christian Faith, Baroque Painting in Italy, Baroque Art in the Netherlands, Baroque Art in Flanders and France, 18th Century Art, and Late Nineteenth Century French Art.
The Dayton Art Institute also boasts an impressive glass collection that focuses primarily on American and European glass from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There's also a Native American Art gallery that highlights works by various native cultures, and an interesting Textiles collection, which includes about 1,000 pieces from around the world, displayed in several of the museum's galleries.
Kids are welcomed at this museum with open arms. Guided tours are offered for children as young as pre-school age and three self-guided gallery hunts, which include color-coded clue cards, are offered to children upon entering the museum. In addition, the museum's Expericenter is a great place for families to gather and enjoy a variety of interactive activities and games. The education department of DAI also offers classes, lectures, and workshops for every member of the family and summer art camps for kids from 5 to 17.
Special events abound at DAI including film showings, a jazz concert series, an annual elaborate Oktoberfest, a chamber music series, and the annual black tie Art Ball, a gala event that benefits the museum and all its programs.