Tours of the new galleries, live music, a photo booth and drinks for donations will be part of the festivities.
The Contemporary Dayton, also known as The Co and formerly known as the Dayton Visual Arts Center, has nearly doubled in size to 6,224 square feet at the Dayton Arcade, with five galleries incorporated into the new space.
“This represents a world class space for us on par with some of the amazing contemporary art centers that exist,” Stephanie Keinath, president of The Co’s board said. “For someone in Dayton visiting The Co for the first time, they’re going to walk in here and be amazed.”
The inaugural exhibitions will feature three premieres, two produced exclusively for the opening.
The exhibitions will feature the work of Dayton natives Zachary Armstrong, the late Curtis Barnes Sr. and Los Angeles filmmaker Cauleen Smith, artists who play a role in social-justice education, community building, and social activism.
“We really do consider the Contemporary Dayton a treasure for our community,” Eva Buttacavoli, The Co’s executive director, said. “Dayton should be proud to have a contemporary art center of this size with these sorts of artists exhibiting.”
The Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) was formed in 1991 and moved to N. Jefferson St. in 2006. In 2018, DVAC rebranded to The Contemporary Dayton.
To kick off the opening, the University of Dayton’s Pride of Dayton Marching Band will lead a march at 5 p.m. from 118 N. Jefferson St. to the new location in the historic Arcade. All members of The Co are invited to join the parade.
Opening weekend hours will be Saturday, May 1, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery hours beginning May 3 will be Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The galleries are closed Monday and Tuesday.
On Saturday, May 1 the public is invited to a celebration with friends and family of Curtis Barnes Sr. from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A special community gospel performance will be held at 3 p.m.