The Dayton Art Institute (DAI) opened in 1919 as the Dayton Museum of Arts, also operating as a traditional school of art. Its original founding patrons included Orville Wright and local leaders the Patterson brothers. In its first decade the Museum was housed in a downtown Dayton mansion, but in little over a decade moved to a new home, overlooking the Great Miami River and modeled after a pair of 16th-century Renaissance Italian villas. With the art school playing an increasingly important role in the life of the Museum, it was renamed the Dayton Art Institute.
Over the years the Institute has continued its expansion and acquisition of new works, amassing a collection of over 26,000 pieces of art covering 5000 years of art history. The Institute’s special exhibitions have become a strong suit in recent decades, and have drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors from all 50 states and across the globe. Today, in its tenth decade, the DAI continues to provide top quality special exhibitions, including works on loan from important national institutions, significant works from the permanent collection, and work by modern artists, some of whose places in art history have yet to be determined.
The Institute continues its tradition of excellence in art education, with numerous programs offered year-round for enthusiasts of all ages. Additional activities include jazz and chamber music concerts, film screenings, an Oktoberfest celebration and the DAI’s longstanding tradition, the Art Ball.
Dayton Art Institute Information
- Public Transportation: Poor
- Handicapped Accessible: Good
- Hours: Tues, Weds, Fri, Sat 10 am-5 pm; Thurs 10 am-8 pm; Sun noon-5 pm; Closed Mondays, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday.
- Admission: General admission is free; admission fee may apply to some special exhibitions.
- Membership: Individual annual membership is $45 (Students $30, Duo $60, Family $70); benefits include free admission to all special exhibitions, free admission to monthly jazz concerts, free subscription to Member Magazine, discounts at Museum Store and Café as well as art classes, workshops, lectures and more.