The Dayton Arts Project comes to fruition
By Khalid Moss
Daniel Karasik is a bright-eyed, 20-something with a winning smile and the lean, muscular build of a dancer. It makes sense, because he is a member of the Dayton Ballet Company where he has been employed as a dancer since 2008. But his artistic aspirations extend much further.
He is the director/founder of the Dayton Arts Project, which will host its first big citywide function August 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. in the Blair Hall Theatre of Sinclair Community College.
When Karasik arrived in Dayton from Pittsburgh in 2008, what he saw was a medium-sized, midwestern city with a vibrant arts scene. He wondered what he could do to give artists a platform to showcase their work. His answer: The Dayton Arts Project.
“The Dayton Arts Project is its own entity,” Karasik explained. “It is an organization that will present artwork from the Dayton region, thoughtfully and inter-connected with different media. The idea is that you can have film, mixed media, visual arts, sculpture and installation art all together and they can live in harmony. The classic example of that is dance and music. I’m interested in giving these artists in Dayton a place to exhibit their work and also give the art-goers in Dayton a different perspective.”
Karasik began his dance training in Bucks County, Penn. He attended the Joffrey Ballet School, New York, The Nutmeg Conservatory and the School of Ballet, Florida. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Point Park University in 2007. He has handpicked seven talented dancers to perform for the Dayton Arts Project. They are: Case Bodamer from the South Shore of Long Island, New York; Angela Dice of Pittsburg, Penn; Aubrey Klinger of Akron, Ohio; Rodney Veal, Ashley Sass and Annalise Woller of Dayton; and Jeff Wolfe from Chicago.
“Some will say this is where you go to see these dancers let their hair down,” Karasik said. “What I’m presenting here is they’ve let their hair down, cut it off and dyed it! These dancers are tremendously talented, forward thinking and with cutting edge abilities.”
His visual arts contingent consists of three Dayton-based visual artists.
“Ben Quinn is a young artist from Oakwood,” he said. “He is a graduate of the Columbus Academy of Art and Design. He is a tremendously talented artist who works with really interesting mediums. For example he is a self-described mixed-media artist. He’ll tell you he works with acrylics, spray paint, gloss medium and water to create his compositions… He is going to come up with four to five big pieces.”
Another local artist is Tom Watson, III. While attending classes at UD he suffered a massive brain-stem stroke and ended up overcoming tremendous odds to get himself back on his feet. He has a really touching and personal exhibit he’ll be showing called Stem Re-assemblage.”
“Richard Zoph has an installation piece at Wegerzyn Gardens at Five Rivers Metropark. He’s going to be building a sapling sculpture that will enclose the lobby of Blair Hall Theatre. I’m hoping to make that a multimedia installation by incorporating film within that.”
Karasik admitted he couldn’t have mounted the Dayton Arts Project without the help of some very influential artists in the city.
“My affiliation with Sinclair Community College is through Rodney Veal,” Karasik said. “He is the most shameless supporter of the arts in Dayton. I spoke to him early on in the project. I was still planting the seeds. He had the idea what he would ask Sinclair (if a venue was available). Sinclair was terrific. They gave me an in-kind donation and they are housing dancers in their studio space for three weeks. It’s really exciting.”
The event takes place August 5 and 6 at Blair Hall Theatre at Sinclair Community College. Gallery opens at 7 p.m. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 students, $15 adults.
Reach DCP freelance writer Khalid Moss at KhalidMoss@DaytonCityPaper.com