Dayton Art Institute and NAACP collaborative exhibit celebrates Black history, artistry

A collaboration between two Dayton institutions is shining a spotlight on Black history.

The Dayton Art Institute (DAI) teamed up with the Dayton unit of the NAACP for an exhibit that captures the history and artistry of African Americans. “Reflections in Time: Dayton Unit NAACP Celebrates History” runs through Sept. 10 at the DAI featuring work by artists Ernie Barnes, Jr., Frank Morrison, Annie F. Lee, Aaron Hazel, Tim Okamura, Chris Roberts Antieau, Tiffanie Anderson and Kim Douglas Wiggins.

The collaboration is one of unique circumstance given that Julia Shaw Patterson Carnell, founding executive member of the NAACP Dayton Unit, also contributed significantly both financially and artistically to the creation of the DAI. Michael R. Roediger, DAI Director and CEO, said the exhibit is a way to appreciate her and her contributions to both institutions.

“Working with the Dayton Unit NAACP has been a truly special experience, as our two organizations have a shared piece of history,” Roediger said in a news release. “We’re excited for this unique opportunity to honor Julia’s legacy while celebrating the history of Black Americans through a diverse collection of artworks.”

“Reflections in Time” was jointly curated by DAI Chief Curator Jerry Smith and Dayton Unit NAACP Curator Elijah Rashaed. The selection of works from the 20th and 21st centuries is drawn from a desire for Black representation as well as pieces that told stories of history, education, pride and spirituality that transcend time and speak to the Dayton community, according to the curators.

Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward said the collaboration is “long overdue” because the two institutions have shared a history for over 100 years. The vision of the Dayton chapter is “to fulfill the dream of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by capitalizing on the second “A” of the NAACP, which stands for advancement,” a mission in which the DAI and NAACP partnership emphasizes.

Foward crossed paths with Rashaed in 2019, and in 2022, he appointed him chair of the art curation special committee within Dayton Unit NAACP. Through Rashaed’s appointment, the organization had the opportunity to reach out to the DAI and implement collaboration.

Foward said he’s excited to see how the partnership will help shape education and advancement through the arts in Dayton.

“What’s important about the arts is long after (we) are deceased, the arts will live on,” Foward said. “People behind us will be able to reflect back on American history, and how we all have arrived and descended upon the space that we call America.”


What: “Reflections in Time: Dayton Unit NAACP Celebrates History”

When: Now through Sept. 10; DAI galleries are open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park N., Dayton

More Information: For additional details, visit

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