Bike-themed art exhibit rides into Mayflower Arts Center

By Brennan Burks

Photo: Marcelina Gonzales’ ‘Summers on Camino Verde,’ on diplay at the Mayflower May 1-June 24
When you think of Troy in the summer, there’s more than a slim chance that strawberries come to mind. Strawberry pie, strawberry cannoli, chocolate strawberries, a fountain shooting strawberry-red in the center of everything. However, this summer in Troy, there will be more than a sweet fruit to think about. In fact, I’ll wager that if you make Troy a destination in the upcoming warmer months, you’ll have bikes on the brain before too long.

From May 1 – June 24, the Mayflower Arts Center in downtown Troy is hosting a bicycle-themed exhibit from its recently juried contest titled “Balance.” This show will be held at the same time as Troy’s annual Sculptures on the Square, which is hosting Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro’s traveling exhibit, “Las Bicicletas.”

Executive Director Lisa Bauer and artist/co-curator Tim Wells wanted the contest to compliment Navarro’s bicycle theme.

“It didn’t take long for us to know that we could work in conjunction with a theme that will be present around town,” Bauer says.

And with variations on a theme in the square, in parks around town, along the Great Miami River bike path, and in the gallery of the Mayflower Center, visitors to Troy will be dreaming on two wheels. But as Bauer and Wells quickly learned, adding to the bike-destination theme this summer has more significance for the Dayton area than the coordination of two art shows.

Dayton is synonymous with aviation, but what preceded that eureka moment in the evolution of technology was the innovative mass perfection and production of the bicycle. In the 1890s, the Wright brothers competed with local bike producing giant Davis Sewing Machine Company (the eponymous product was eventually discontinued because bike sales were so solid that the company eventually formed the Huffy Corporation).

“Dayton’s history is full of bikes, from the Wright brothers to Huffy,” Wells says, “and I also discovered and then visited the nearby Bicycle Museum of America, just up the road in New Bremen. So, incorporating the bike theme into our contest connected us more with the area than we ever could have imagined.”

For the work itself, the art selected doesn’t take one shape or form. From interpretations that evoke the pleasure and simplicity of riding to the utilization of bike parts to construct something new, “the various representations and uses of bikes in these pieces is probably as varied as our use of them,” Bauer says.

According to Wells, the name of the contest can also be applied to variations of the work viewers will see. Bauer agrees and adds that it originated from their desire to capture what makes bike creation and use work best:

“Bike design, like the riding of one, requires balance, and truly enjoying the ride can even be a spiritually-balancing experience.” Some of the balance in form, both 2D and 3D, and experience could also be attributed to the various places from where artists responded to the call for entries, from Texas to Troy.

Although this isn’t the first year they’ve facilitated a juried contest and exhibit, Bauer says this is the first call for art they have made nationally: “We were very excited not only to expand our audience, but also to incorporate work from different regions across the country.”

Even if you’re not singing “Bicycle Race” by Queen in your head yet, consider the following: whatever shape your summer plans are taking, Troy should be on your radar—and not only for the strawberries.


‘Balance’ jury-selected artists:

Marcelina Gonzales, Brownsville, Texas

Amy Deal, Oakwood, Ohio

Steven Goossen, Rochester, Michigan

William Smith III, Troy, Ohio

Shawna Hanel, Boise, Idaho

Carolyn Harmon, Greenville, Ohio

Gina Duncan, Troy, Ohio

Anita Cooke, New Orleans, Louisiana

Patrick Locicero, Seattle, Washington, on loan from the Bicycle Museum of America


‘Balance’ runs May 1June 24 at the Mayflower Arts Center, 9 W. Main St. in Troy. The opening reception takes place Saturday, May 6 from 6-8 p.m. For more information, please call 937.552.5848 or visit


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