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Storm, Watershed & Riverbank
In the spring of 2013, The Dayton Art Institute commemorated an event that changed the physicality and focus of cities along Ohio’s Great Miami River. In 1913, an unusually potent winter storm system caused a weather event that researcher Trudy Bell considers the United States’ most widespread natural disaster. Disastrous flooding of the five rivers that converge in downtown Dayton occurred when the equivalent of three months worth of rain fell during four days in March 1913.
Cultural and historical organizations, with leadership from the Miami Conservancy District, will mount exhibits and host activities in observance of this watershed moment in our region. The Dayton Art Institute participated by presenting a suite of three exhibitions commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1913 flood.
Paintings by April Gornik
Upon entering The DAI’s Special Exhibition Wing, visitors were surrounded by the large-scale paintings of April Gornik, paintings that nearly crackle with the electric, kinetic energy that moves in the air as a storm approaches. These images evoke the gathering of that massive storm system that crossed the U.S. in the spring of 1913, wreaking havoc. These tour de force landscape paintings capture light and atmosphere, and their power is intuitively, universally understood by anyone who has watched – and felt – a storm approach. This exhibition included loans from the artist's private collection and from Danese Gallery in New York City.
100 Years of Photography along the Great Miami River
Storm led into adjacent galleries that held Watershed: 100 Years of Photography along the Great Miami River. This second, concurrent exhibition was based on a new publication by the Miami Conservancy District that contrasts historical images documenting the flood and its aftermath with contemporary photographs depicting similar views. This exhibition presented the medium of photography and the practice of photographers as it developed during the past 100 years. Historical materials, including postcards, period equipment and glass slides, documented eight cities along the Great Miami River – Piqua, Troy, Dayton, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton. New images mirroring the old were captured for this exhibition by Dayton photographer Andy Snow.
With broad interests and acute sensitivity, Snow relishes the documentarian approach and allows images to reveal themselves. He is deeply interested in the ways in which the image conveys the energy of the moment. Studies at Princeton with Sol Libsohn and Peter Bunnell taught him to use light and soul to capture an aesthetic narrative.
Exploring Our River-Centered Development
The Watershed exhibition le into Riverbank: Exploring Our River-Centered Development, consisting of images and information that captured development concepts and realities along the Great Miami River. It revisited earlier concept plans for development of the area at the foot of The DAI’s grand staircase that runs along the northwest bank of the Great Miami, and current developments on the river were shown. Historical plans generated the basis of an interactive display that captured visitors’ ideas about ways in which The Dayton Art Institute might connect with kayak/canoe runs, bike and walking paths, public transportation routes and newly opened freeway access at our front door.
More About Storm, Watershed & Riverbank:
Museum Members: Free
Seniors (60+), Students (18+ w/ID), Active Military & Groups (10 or more): $9
Youth (7-17): $6
Children (6 & under): Free
Prices include admission to all three exhibitions and the museum's permanent collection. A $1 Historic Preservation Fee will be added to all ticket sale transactions.
Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trusts, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee
The Berry Family Foundation
Wanda and Bill Lukens
Premier Health Partners
The Dayton Power & Light Company Foundation
With additional support from
French Oil Mill Machinery Company
Image: The Back of the Storm, 1984, Oil on Canvas, 82" x 114" (The Dayton Art Institute permanent collection)
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