A Day in Dayton: Option 1

Despite the fact that most major companies have pulled out of Dayton, Ohio and that all the highway entrance ramps into Dayton are currently closed, there are still a few things that make Dayton worth the trip.

The Dayton Art Institute hosts exhibits a little more exciting than your typical masterpiece classics and oil paintings. They showcase Chihuly glass and other three dimensional pieces. One piece of art in particular caught my attention. It is a brightly-colored, contemporary jellybean and butterfly masterpiece titled “Shimmering Madness” by artist Sandy Skoglund. It is found inside Experiencenter, the one-room children’s experiential space in the museum.

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I couldn’t stop looking at the details. The two action figures in the center are covered with jellybeans. So is the floor. Thousands of jellybeans. The figurines are in motion, and oddly, their heads face backwards. When the artist was asked why she did that, she answered simply, “Why not?”

Behind the figures are two black walls with hand-painted multi-colored, multi-specied butterflies controlled by invisible tubing and electronics so that every once in a while, some of the butterfly wings start to flutter. The “shimmering” in the madness.

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I could have stared at this piece for hours. It was whimsical and fun; a perfect way to introduce children to art. It was simply joyous.

But before you head to the Dayton Art Institute, detour into town for breakfast or lunch at Dayton’s 2nd Street Market.

Open Thursday-Saturday, this market full of local food vendors and artisans is probably the hottest spot in Dayton. We went on Saturday and couldn’t even find a seat after we split up and ordered from various food booths.

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I got a Hungarian cabbage roll. My husband got a Colombian dish that the vendor recommended: Arepas. These are white corn patties topped with a variety of ingredients and sauces. Next time I’ll get that; it was delicious.

Not surprisingly, my daughter got a chocolate-banana crepe. There is truly something for everyone.

Where we spent the majority of our time was at the Olive Tree booth. I’ve got something of a vinegar addiction. I can’t go more than a few days without having some (but would rather not forgo it at all!). At the Olive Tree, you can taste the eight flavors of vinegars and sample the variety of olive oils as well. Trust me: there aren’t any bad flavors, but I limited myself to four bottles of vinegar for the time being: Fig Balsamic, Chile Balsamic, Coconut White Balsamic, and White Strawberry Peach. That should last me for a month or two. olive

There are also bread makers, pastry makers, cheese makers, and booths full of jellies and jams. One vendor offers organic dog treats. Other sellers include artists and jewelry crafters. It’s a nice place to wander for a few hours and eat lunch. If you can get there — since no highway roads lead into Dayton at that moment. Make the effort anyway. It’s worth the trip.

Stay tuned for another Dayton Day Trip option. But what do you think of Dayton so far?

20 responses to “A Day in Dayton: Option 1

  1. I can’t believe those sculptures are made out of jelly beans; they are so beautiful and captivating! I will never look at jelly beans in quite the same way again, now always thinking, “hmmm, what could I make with this?” 😀

    • So true!
      Once, around Easter time, there was an art challenge to make sculptures out of Peeps. You should have seen them! So creative. I guess anything could be used a medium if you really tried.

      • Peeps! Hahaha, that’s so funny! I just discovered Peeps last year so now I will have to make little Peep sculptures too. (I’ll just end up making a mess, I’m sure!)

  2. Each butterfly was hand-painted?? Talk about impressive! Do you know how long the entire piece took to put together? I imagine just the butterflies took quite a while to finish!

    • Yes, failing economy. The largest corporations in Dayton either went bankrupt or moved out of the city. There isn’t much left there. And to make it worse, someone had the bright idea to do highway construction that closed all (both) entrance ramps into the city at once. So if you do actually have a reason to enter Dayton, you’ve gotta work at it and figure out a back way in. Crazy!

  3. I like what you have shown here. I lived in Dayton for a short time many years ago. My apartment was north of the city near Hara Arena, but I worked south of the city at a racquetball club. I liked the city, but wasn’t there long enough to explore it as I would have liked. Thank you for doing it for me. 🙂

  4. Love the jelly bean/butterfly art. I once toured the Jelly Belly factory and they had some neat jelly bean artwork, but no where near as impressive at that!

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