Cut footloose!

Prime Time Prom at DAI

By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

Photo: Prime Time Prom will begin at 7 p.m. on May 30 at the Dayton Art Institute

What are your memories of prom? Was it a corsage or a boutonnière you were trying to affix while your date stood there, trepidation in their eyes as you fumbled with the stickpins? Were you the one spiking the punch bowl or the one accepting the crown from your classmates? Did you shimmy across the dance floor doing the latest craze or were you coupled up in the perpetual pubescent sway of the slow dance? Or did you skip the ritual all together? Whether you’re looking to relive the long-lost days of high school or you simply want another shot at creating those golden memories, Prime Time Prom at the Dayton Art Institute on Friday, May 30 promises every chestnut you’ll need to make it a night to remember.

“It’s also a great chance for a ‘redo’ if you didn’t go to prom in high school!” DAI’s Marketing and Communications Manager Eric Brockman said. “Ultimately, a lot of it is about nostalgia – recapturing your youth and reliving a bygone era. Plus, it’s an opportunity to have an ‘adult beverage’ at prom without getting in trouble!”

This 21 and up “grown-up prom” offers a bit of reminiscence for everyone, regardless of which era housed your teenage years.

“It doesn’t matter when you went to high school – it’s really a ‘come one, come all’ affair,” Brockman said. “Many prom-themed events focus on specific eras, such as the ’80s, but we wanted to create an event that would appeal to a broad range.

“Like all of our Prime Time Parties, guests can expect great food and drink, along with music for dancing, raffles and a few special surprises at the Prime Time Prom,” Brockman added. “There will also be a photo booth to capture those special prom memories. We always encourage costumes (although they’re not required), so we expect to see everything from traditional formal wear to big ’80s dresses and ’70s powder-blue tuxes.”

Elite Catering is preparing to tantalize your taste buds, and Heidelberg Distributing has an arsenal of libations to quench your thirst.

“Elite Catering provides the food for our Prime Time Parties,” Brockman said. “Renee McClure at Elite is still finalizing the menu, but we guarantee it will take you back to your high school days! It will include things such as mini pizzas, mini burgers and fries, a mac and cheese bar and more. We’ll also be offering specialty cocktails with a prom theme – think ‘spiked punch,’ etc. – and our partners at Heidelberg Distributing always offer a selection of new products that relate to the theme.”

Of course, you’ll need some music.

“Music and a photo booth will be provided by Black Box, who worked with us on last summer’s Studio 54 Disco Party,” Brockman said. “They’ll be spinning danceable hits from a variety of eras. They really got into the spirit of the Studio 54 party, with the DJs dressed in period costumes, and we expect the same with the Prime Time Prom.”

For an extra level of excitement, Prime Time Prom will have a raffle.

“We always have fantastic raffle prizes from our generous sponsors,” Brockman said. “The highlight of the raffle will be jewelry from James Free Jewelers, the official jeweler of The Dayton Art Institute. They always provide a pair of beautiful jewelry items worth several hundred dollars each. Heidelberg Distributing also provides great items for the raffle – in the past, they’ve donated prizes such as a bicycle, fire pit, neon signs and coolers.”

What makes Prime Time Prom unique is its location inside the Dayton Art Institute, the region’s premier fine arts museum.

“We always relate the Prime Time Parties to our permanent collection or special exhibitions at the museum,” said Brockman. “In this case, the Prime Time Prom will feature a self-guided tour of works in the collection that have been featured at past DAI Art Balls.”

In addition to providing its community with a fun-filled night of carousing, DAI ultimately hopes to showcase the wonders inside its walls and turn its guests into lifelong enthusiasts.

“The goal of the Prime Time Party Rental Series is to give the community a new entertainment option and to draw a new audience to The Dayton Art Institute,” Brockman said. “The series came about through feedback from our members and the community, who were looking for new and different ways to spend their leisure time. … People love opportunities to get dressed up and go out for a good time. The Prime Time Prom is an affordable way to do that and have a great evening in one location!”

Prime Time Prom will be held Friday, May 30 from 7 – 11 p.m. in the Shaw Gothic Cloister at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North. Advance tickets are $35 for members and $40 for non-members and include all food and entertainment. A cash bar will be available with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. This grown-up prom is for ages 21 and up! For more information or to learn how to become a museum member, please visit


Reach DCP freelance writer Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at To read more from Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin, visit her website at

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About Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

View all posts by Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin
Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin is a writer and amateur cartographer living in Dayton, Ohio. She has been a member of PUSH (Professionals United for Sexual Health) since 2012 and is currently serving as Chair. She can be reached at or through her website at

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