‘Art is in the air’

DAI’s 56th Annual Art Ball

By Leo DeLuca
Photo: One of the highlights of the DAI’s annual Art Ball is an elegant seated dinner, served throughout the museum galleries; Photo courtesy of Dayton Art Institute

The Dayton Art Institute hosts its 56th annual Art Ball Saturday, June 8 from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Long a fun and festive function for the DAI, the Art Ball is also a significant revenue stream for the beloved museum. The arts are vital to healthy cities and, along with the annual autumn Oktoberfest celebration, the Art Ball is the DAI’s largest fundraising event. The Art Ball is a momentous celebration.

I had the chance to catch up with Dayton Art Institute Executive Director Michael Roediger, Special Events Coordinator Julie Cannon, Associate Director Jane Black and Art Ball Chairs Lisa and Michael Sandners about the event.

The DAI Art Ball is entering its 56th year. Do you know who had the original idea for the event? Are any of the founding organizers still involved? If not, of the current organizers, who’s been involved the longest?

Much of the credit for inaugurating the tradition of an annual gala fundraiser for the museum goes to the Junior League of Dayton. Their Holiday Ball, an early December event that originally took place at downtown hotels and country clubs, was relocated to the museum in 1957 and became the Art Ball. In 1965, the Junior League turned the planning and execution of the Art Ball over to the DAI’s Associate Board. Our Associate Board is still instrumental in planning and organizing the Art Ball each year. In terms of involvement, PNC has sponsored Art Ball for 18 years and has supported the DAI since 1957 – what an amazing legacy! –Michael Roediger

This year’s theme is “Art is in the Air” and John Safer’s sculpture “Pathway” is the evening’s centerpiece. The near 70-foot sculpture was installed in 2003 in celebration of the centennial of flight. How did you decide on this year’s theme? Is it in reference to 2013 being the 110th anniversary of flight? Aside from the sculpture, how else is the theme highlighted at this year’s Art Ball?

Each year, one couple from the Associate Board serves as Art Ball Chairs, and they choose a piece from the DAI’s collection as the centerpiece. –Julie Cannon

“Pathway” showcases the breadth of the DAI’s collection. It is a strong and elegant structure that displays different reflections at each curve; so at one angle you can see the reflection of the DAI and at another, you can see the city of Dayton skyline. We feel the theme, “Art is in the Air,” reflects different moments of time, illustrating the transition from sunset to twilight, just like the evening itself. We believe the color palette, vertical elements and strength of the piece will all be evident in the decor. The piece also spoke to us symbolically. “Pathway” represents the path or journey our lives take. As transplants from the East Coast, we could not have predicted this opportunity when we came to Dayton; yet here we find ourselves working with an amazing group of people to bring this moment to life in the form of Art Ball 2013. It is a privilege to share our moment with the community. – Lisa and Michael Sandners

The theme is highlighted in the colors, flowers and decorations used throughout the museum for the Art Ball. The colors will reflect a sunset, transitioning to an evening sky.  There will be lots of deep pinks, purples and blues, with pops of silver to tie back to the John Safer piece. The flower arrangements, provided by Furst Florist and Greenhouses, will have the same color scheme and will have bold metallic elements, reminiscent of “Pathway.” -JC

The Art Ball and Oktoberfest are the two biggest fundraisers for the DAI. In turn, they are extremely important events for the City of Dayton. Have you envisioned a third annual event to raise funds for the DAI? If so, what would it be?

Instead of creating another large event, we are focused on making the museum an active space for inspiration, fun and education, day in and day out. No matter when people come, they will always find something interesting and exciting to do. –Jane Black

Is there anything else you’d like to add about the 56th Annual Dayton Art Institute Art Ball? 

Although Art Ball reservations are sold out, the community can still get involved with Art Ball – and help us meet our fundraising goal – through our new Winners Raffle. Only 600 tickets are being sold for the raffle, and there are 100 prizes valued at $100 or more. That’s at least a one in six chance of winning! The raffle prizes include jewelry from our official jeweler, James Free Jewelers, salon services for an entire year from Square One Salon, and a fantastic Caribbean vacation package. You don’t have to be present at Art Ball to win. Tickets may be purchased in person at the museum, by calling 937.223.4ART (4278), or online at daytonartinstute.org/artball. -JC

The Dayton Art Institute’s 56th Annual Art Ball takes place on Saturday, June 8 at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North. For more information, visit daytonartinstitute.org.

Reach DCP freelance writer Leo DeLuca at LeoDeLuca@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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