Thought-provoking

The Cline Show at the Dayton Visual Arts Center


Simeon Estes “Cut It Out”, chalk

By Tim Smith

The Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) has always showcased and encouraged local artists in the pursuit of their artistic visions. Every year it holds numerous exhibits that give Dayton area artisans free expressionistic reign. One of its signature events is The Cline Show: Annual Art & Design Student Invitational, an exhibition featuring the work of local college and university art and design students. The next exhibit will run from Jan. 12 through Feb. 10 at the Center, located at 118 N. Jefferson St. in Dayton. 

This is the 10th year for this invitation only exhibition. It was named in memory of Barbara C. Cline, who, in her 10 years as DVAC’s office manager, influenced hundreds of student interns and emerging artists. Students are selected after being nominated by the faculty of fine art and design departments from local colleges and universities, including the University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair Community College, Edison Community College, Antioch College, Wittenberg University, and the School of Advertising Art. Each student is permitted to submit up to three works of art, including painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, and design. These students work directly with DVAC staff to gain valuable, hands-on experience in exhibiting their work.

Eva Buttacavoli is the Dayton Visual Arts Center’s Executive Director. She says that once the nominated students submit their work, there is a further process before they are chosen for inclusion in the final exhibit.

“The students submit their works, and they are all placed at DVAC,” she says. “Several students who are interested will self-apply to hold three positions as part of the organization of the exhibition. The positions are curator, marketing and promotion, and preparator, the person who manages the positioning of the exhibits. We call it a mentorship, and there is a small stipend. Our gallery manager interviews who wants to serve as curator of the exhibition. The student who is chosen as curator selects the work to be shown. The entire exhibition is managed and installed by the students.” 

Forty students from area colleges and schools were invited to submit works for consideration. For many students, this is their first gallery experience, and it offers an opportunity for them to show their work to other professionals in the field. 

“This is often the students first professional exhibition,” Buttacavoli says. “They’re exhibiting possibly in their studios or the galleries at UD or Wright State’s campus. We make it a point to advertise with other gallery owners and curators to give them the opportunity to see this new work. We’ve exhibited and maintained relationships with many of the students after the exhibition. The main thing is, because of this first professional exhibition and membership in DVAC, they can be part of the community. What we’re trying to show these artists is that there’s a reason to stay and work in Dayton, because we offer other venues for them to exhibit their works.”

Participating students have used The Cline Show as a starting point for their careers.

“Abby Maurer was a UD student we showcased three or four years ago,” Buttacavoli says. “She’s gone on to display her work throughout the state. I presented her as an artist to watch two years ago. We do this small exhibition where we showcase up-and-coming artists. There’s no prize for this exhibit; however, several board members over the years have put forth funds to award students with a DVAC membership. That allows them to take part in other exhibitions.”

The Cline Show has consistently been an audience favorite since its inception 10 years ago. Sponsors for this year’s exhibit include Exhibition Partners Amelia Hounshell and Brian Albrecht, along with Education & Public Program Sponsors Dr. Bob Brandt, Jr. and Marjorie Kuhns.

“This is the public’s favorite show,” Buttacavoli says. “This is what’s going on in our schools right now, new processes and new techniques. And I have to say it’s always a packed exhibition because the students bring their families and their friends. Parents come, friends come, other artists come and want to see the work of their peers. Each year, it is a privilege to work with students for The Cline Show in an experience that replicates the submission and selection process undertaken by professional and institutional galleries everywhere.”

In addition to traditional college art programs, one of the more interesting contributors is the School of Advertising Art, which Buttacavoli regards as a timely addition to the exhibit.

“They’ve been participating for about three years and they’re an active participant,” she says. “We think it’s particularly current because there’s such a merge now between advertising and graphic design and art. We think this is very timely and we’re excited that they’ve decided to participate.”

Buttacavoli hopes that people will not only enjoy the new and exciting work of up-and- coming young artists, but that they will also appreciate the nontraditional aspects that the gallery likes to highlight in its exhibits. 

“Any time you come to Dayton Visual Arts Center, you are seeing the freshest, most thought-provoking art that you can see anywhere,” she says. “This is the work that’s happening in our art schools right now, it’s the most topical work, and it delves into the minds of the art students. These are things that you can’t see anywhere else. That’s what DVAC is showing now.”

The Cline Show will be held at the Dayton Visual Arts Center, 118 N. Jefferson St., Dayton, from Jan. 12 through Feb. 10. An Opening Reception will be held on January 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. The reception and the exhibit are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday, and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on First Fridays. The Gallery is closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information visit daytonvisualarts.org, or call 937.224.3822.

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Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author. Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Smith at TimSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

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