Dayton Art Institute announces reopening plan, cancellation of Oktoberfest, Art Ball

The Dayton Art Institute (DAI), closed since March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced on Tuesday that it will reopen to members on Friday, July 10 and to the general public on Friday, July 17.

The museum also announced that, due to ongoing uncertainties related to COVID-19 and large gatherings, it will cancel all three of its 2020 Signature Events: Art Ball, Bourbon & Bubbles and Oktoberfest. Art Ball and Bourbon & Bubbles had previously been postponed with hopes of fall dates, and Oktoberfest was scheduled to take place Sept. 25–27, 2020. These events serve as key fund-raisers for the museum.

The cancellation of the museum’s signature events does not affect wedding and event rentals at the museum, however.

“The decision to cancel our Signature Events, especially Oktoberfest, was a tremendously difficult one to make,” DAI Director and CEO Michael R. Roediger said in a news release. “Not only do they bring together so many people from throughout the region, but they are also our biggest fundraisers and contribute significant income to our operating budget each year.”

Roediger explained to us that collectively, these events bring in approximately $600,000 each year, which is a significant portion of the museum’s nearly $5 million yearly operating budget. “With the shutdown and loss of these events, we are easily going to have a $1 million shortfall,” he told us.

This significant economic impact has been softened by $500,000 in PPP funds the museum received as part of the government’s stimulus program. It has allowed DAI to retain all of its full-time staff throughout the shutdown. However Roediger emphasized that it’s important the museum make up the rest of the shortfall through membership renewals, donations, and visits to the museum.

“The arts are part of the fabric of the Dayton community,” Roediger told us. “We are top ranked in the nation when it comes to arts offerings, and is a draw for employers looking to relocate here. If people love and value the arts community here, they have to invest and help us all get through this. No one should feel their gift isn’t big enough. We are so appreciative of any gift, even $10, to help us bridge our funding gap.”

Roediger also explained that drawing more from DAI’s endowment funds is not a way out for the museum, although increasing the percentage they draw off of their primary fund is on the table, if needed. Taking money from the museum’s endowments are a last resort that would be pursued with close consultation with the museum’s Board and financial team. DAI is hoping to make up revenue in other ways.

Roediger added, “Rest assured that Oktoberfest, as well as Art Ball and Bourbon & Bubbles, will be back, bigger and better than ever, in 2021. Oktoberfest, which was established in 1971, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year. Through all of this, our event sponsors have continued to show tremendous support for the museum, and we will not let this setback diminish these community traditions.”


The museum will reopen with limited hours of 11 a.m.–5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, noon–5 p.m. on Sundays.

“After nearly four months apart, we are thrilled to finally welcome our members and the community back to the museum,” Roediger said. “The safety of both our staff and guests has been of the utmost importance, and the public will see a number of measures in place to ensure that everyone has a safe and positive experience at the museum.”

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When the museum reopens on July 10, new policies and safety measures will be in place to protect staff and guests, as recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health. These changes include:

  • Physical distancing measures to ensure guests remain six feet from others not in their group
  • All staff and guests will be required to wear face coverings while visiting the museum
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures in place throughout the museum
  • Protective shields installed at the museum's Guest Services Desk

All museum tours will be self-guided, in-person programs and interactive activities will not be available at this time, and The Lange Family Experiencenter will remain closed.  More information about museum policies and procedures, as well as planning a visit, will be available at and posted to the museum's social media pages.

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Credit: E.L. Hubbard

Credit: E.L. Hubbard


The DAI is asking those who purchased Bourbon & Bubbles tickets to consider donating the value of the tickets to the museum as the financial impact of COVID-19 on the museum is expected to exceed one million dollars this year. Ticket holders who would like to receive a refund should send requests via email to

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The museum will launch a special "Virtual Oktoberfest" fundraiser in August, offering a limited-edition 2020 Oktoberfest package that includes a T-shirt and mug, as well as other unique items. More details will be announced in July, with updates and additional information posted at Bonbright Distributors will continue as Presenting Sponsor of the Virtual Oktoberfest.

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The DAI's Museum Store will also reopen on July 10, and the Special Exhibition Samurai, Ghosts and Lovers: Yoshitoshi's Complete 100 Aspects of the Moon had been extended through September 13. The Focus Exhibitions Photographs from the CollectionSwashbuckling Samurai and In the Company of Friends: The Kettering and Patterson Legacy will also be on view when the DAI reopens.

"We're especially excited to be able to extend the Samurai, Ghosts and Lovers exhibition, which had been on view for less than three weeks when the museum closed," said DAI Chief Curator Jerry Smith. "Many expressed disappointment about not having gotten a chance to see it, and we look forward to welcoming the community back to explore this amazing collection."

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Advance tickets are not required to visit the museum, but capacity may be limited in some collection galleries and the Special Exhibition. Museum general admission, which includes the collection galleries and all exhibitions, is $15 adults, $10 seniors (60+), active military and groups (10 or more), $5 students (18+ w/ID) and youth (ages 7-17), free for children (ages 6 & younger) and museum members.

For more information about the Dayton Art Institute and its reopening plans, visit and connect with the DAI on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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