Facing $1 million gap, program and staff cuts, Dayton Art Institute seeks help to get through ‘global crisis’

Dayton Art Institute CEO and President Michael Roediger and Alexis Larsen, its external affairs director, unveiled DAI’s new logo at the institution’s annual meeting Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.
Dayton Art Institute CEO and President Michael Roediger and Alexis Larsen, its external affairs director, unveiled DAI’s new logo at the institution’s annual meeting Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

“This is one of the most important messages I have ever written,” DAI’s director writes.

Months after celebrating its 100th birthday, the Dayton Art Institute is asking for community support to stay afloat.

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“This is one of the most important messages I have ever written. The DAI has been closed since mid-March and will remain closed through at least the end of June,” Michael R. Roediger, the museum’s director and CEO said in a letter to supporters. “As a result of this closure, and the resulting cancellation or postponement of many museum events, including Art Ball, the museum will face an unprecedented financial crisis, forcing our leadership to make tough decisions.”

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A reduction of staff, postponed programming for children and families, and the ceasing of needed museum maintenance are on the table in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Daytonian of the Week Michael Roediger at the Dayton Art Institute's bond burning with museum supporters.
Daytonian of the Week Michael Roediger at the Dayton Art Institute's bond burning with museum supporters.

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In mid-March, Ohio. Gov. DeWine and Amy Acton, the state's health director, ordered K-12 schools be shut down, prohibited mass gatherings of more than 100 people and banned visitors at nursing homes and state psychiatric hospitals. The museum closed in response.

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In his note, Roediger says the virus has had an million impact on the museum’s fundraising abilities.

The  museum housed 456 Belmonte Park North is one of several arts groups hit hard by the pandemic.

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Seven of Dayton’s most prominent arts organizations — Culture Works, the Dayton Art Institute, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Dayton Live, the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance, the Contemporary Dayton and the Human Race Theatre Company — recently shared their concerns in a rare joint statement.

Using the Americans for the Arts economic impact calculator, they estimated that the economic impact on the region is $214 million.

Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, makes 450 penguins follow his movements. The "Penguins Mirror" by artist Daniel Rozin is one of three installations that is part of the new exhibit, "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water". The exhibit will run through Oct. 16, 2016. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, makes 450 penguins follow his movements. The "Penguins Mirror" by artist Daniel Rozin is one of three installations that is part of the new exhibit, "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water". The exhibit will run through Oct. 16, 2016. LISA POWELL / STAFF

DAI is seeking donations to its annual fund. 

“I am asking you to help us close the gap created by the pandemic and consider any gift of significance to you,” Roediger said in his note.

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The Dayton Art Institute, a favorite of Dayton.com Best of Dayton voters, was founded in 1919 as the Dayton Museum of Arts.

Its founding patrons include Orville Wright and the founders of NCR.