Dayton Art Institute needs your help to win $20K and weird art from John Oliver

The Dayton Art Institute is encouraging Daytonians to rally around a Facebook post that could win the city $20,000.

HBO’s "Last Week Tonight " host John Oliver has pledged to help a museum facing financial difficulty by loaning some of the unusual pieces of art featured on his show — including a painting of rats sharing a moment — along with a $10,000 donation for the museum plus another $10,000 for a local food bank.

“We’ve dabbled a bit in the art market this year and have acquired a small but high-quality collection of modern masterpieces,” Oliver said on air last Sunday. “Tonight, I’m proud to announce that this collection is available to go on tour. That is right, we’re inviting any U.S. museum — as long as they can safely show them — to apply to host these masterpieces.”

“Last Week Tonight” tweeted and posted to Facebook on Monday: “We’re going on tour! Museums are struggling, so, in an effort to help, we’re going to pick five museums to host these fine works of art! We’ll be donating $10k to each museum, and $10k to a food bank in their area. Museums can email to apply!”

Eric Brockman, Dayton Art Institute marketing and communications manager, said people have been tagging the DAI on the “Last Week Tonight” Facebook post, and he’s hopeful it could get the show’s attention. The community can continue to show their support by tagging the Dayton Art Institute in that post, as well as sharing the post to their social media accounts.

“This is all very tongue-in-cheek, but it could be some amazing national publicity for the city if John Oliver selects Dayton as one of the destinations for his tour,” said Dayton Art Institute Director & CEO Michael Roediger. “Even if we don’t take home the ‘prize’, it’s a fun and light-hearted ‘cause’ that the community can rally around, at a time when Dayton really needs something to boost its spirits!”

The Dayton Art Institute is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that depends on the support of members, individuals and corporations, as well as government support and grants. The museum reopened over the summer after the mandatory shutdown. The museum’s two biggest fundraisers, Art Ball and Oktoberfest, were impacted by the pandemic.


People should visit the show’s Facebook page and tag the DAI and explain why they think the museum and Dayton are worthy of the prize. They can also share the post on their social media accounts and email by Nov. 1.

Other ways to support the museum include buying memberships, donating to the annual fund or visiting the museum.

About the Author