History & General Information
The Dayton Visual Arts Center (now The Contemporary Dayton) was founded in 1991 by a coalition of Dayton-area artists, art supporters, and visual arts professionals who saw a need for more interaction between the public and regional artists. The founders established an organization that allows the community to see and experience the wealth and diversity of visual art being created in the area and to get to know these artists. Over the years, The Contemporary Dayton has presented a schedule of exhibitions that has explored the variety and diversity of the visual arts in communities from Dayton, Ohio and internationally.
The Contemporary Dayton is a group of artists and art lovers who believe that a vital visuals arts community is essential to the life of the community. From gallery talks and exhibit openings to professional development workshops, The Contemporary Dayton provides opportunities to meet others who share an interest in art and to learn about and support contemporary visual art. Since 1991, The Contemporary Dayton has been a leading proponent of contemporary art in the region. Our gallery in downtown Dayton presents a full schedule of innovative exhibitions each year. The annual art auction has grown to become one of the largest auctions of contemporary art in Ohio. The Holiday Gift Gallery, which includes the very popular holiday gift gallery, connects artists with the public for the purchase of reasonably priced fine art and fine craft. Through ArtSource, we consult with art collectors, assisting them in finding art by regional artists. And we have fun together, presenting a series of Artist Palate parties in the homes and studios of artists and art collectors.
The Contemporary Dayton is a resource for everyone who enjoys art. It’s a place where artists and art collectors find each other. Our gallery on North Jefferson Street, between First and Second streets in downtown Dayton, features rotating exhibits of professionally hung contemporary art. You will always find something new at The Contemporary Dayton. While you’re visiting, ask about upcoming events and programs.
The Contemporary Dayton mounts 12 to 18 exhibits each year, showing art that is being made here and now, expressing ideas about our environment and society. A 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that encourages working artists, The Contemporary Dayton provides educational programs and activities for anyone who has an interest in the visual arts, whether they create it or not.
Join The Contemporary Dayton to learn more about making and collecting art; to meet artists and art supporters; and to find beautiful, original objects that will make you think and feed your soul, as well as fill your walls.
What you will see in the gallery:
Solo, two-person and group exhibitions proposed by artists and curators, reviewed biennially by a jury of art professionals from outside the Dayton area; themed exhibits, invitationals and “short shows” (brief exhibitions chosen by members of the exhibition & programming committee) that bring our members’ work to light; and handmade objects perfect for giving in the Holiday Gift Gallery.
The Contemporary Dayton
118 N. Jefferson St., Dayton OH 45402
Other things you will find at The Contemporary Dayton:
Art project management for business environments and public spaces; talks and tours for schools and community groups; gallery talks with exhibiting artists; adult and family art-making programs; art-related activities at public events; visual art displays in offsite locations; a resource for finding visual art teachers; professional development programs for visual artists; and a stop during downtown art hops.
Tues-Sat: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Open First Fridays ’til 8 p.m.
Sun & Mon: Closed
Providing art for the community and a community for artists since 1991.
- From northbound I-75, exit at Third Street; proceed east to Jefferson Street (6th traffic light); turn left; go 1-1/2 blocks north. The Contemporary Dayton is on the right.
- From southbound I-75, exit at First Street and proceed east to St. Clair (7th traffic light), turn right; go one block south to Second Street; turn right; go 1/2 block north. The Contemporary Dayton is on the right.
- From Route 35, exit at Main/Jefferson Street; proceed north on Jefferson through five traffic lights; go 1/2 block north. The Contemporary Dayton is on the right.
The Contemporary Dayton (formerly the Dayton Visual Arts Center)
11a.m. – 6p.m., Tuesday – Saturday.
Closed Sunday and Monday.
The Contemporary Dayton’s gallery space is fully accessible to everyone and offers parking at metered spaces or in area garages and lots. We are near theatres, restaurants, hotels and the historic Oregon District.
The parking lot behind The Contemporary Dayton is paid parking reserved for staff of the Bindery Building and your car may be towed if you park there Monday-Friday during business hours, or on Sundays. However, generally, it is safe to park in the lot after 5 p.m. and all day Saturday. There is also plenty of street/meter parking available around The Contemporary Dayton, on Jefferson, St. Clair and Second streets.