skip to Main Content
EXHIBITIONS JAN 13-MAR 26

THE CONTEMPORARY DAYTON PRESENTS WE THE PEOPLE, A MONUMENTAL INSTALLATION BY INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED ARTIST, NARI WARD, AND THE CO IN-PERSON VOTER REGISTRATION CENTER, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LEAUGE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF THE GREATER DAYTON AREA

September 11–November 30, 2020

DAYTON (AUGUST 21, 2020) – On September 11, 2020, The Contemporary Dayton (The Co) is pleased to present Nari Ward’s work, We The People, a 50-foot-wide wall installation that pairs some of the most humble of materials (shoelaces) with one of our country’s most lofty and enduring ideas—the U.S. Constitution. Ward’s materials and methods emanate from both the Jamaican folk traditions from his upbringing and the street scene of his current home in the Bronx, NY; taking the accumulation of everyday items and transforming them in astonishing ways.

“Nari Ward has drawn many of his ideas from research into specific histories and places, often examining immigration and displacement as an American tradition,” notes Michael Goodson, guest Curator, former Senior Curator, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, and longtime friend of Ward. “In doing so, his work makes viewers aware of commonalities that link geographically and culturally disparate communities, providing insight into the strains between tradition and transformation.

Additionally, The Co has partnered with the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area to transform a portion of the gallery into a voter registration center. Open to the general public and designed to engage new audiences, the partnership will hand-deliver registrations each day to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. Along with Ward’s We The People hanging nearby—which will be lit and visible 24-hours a day—the galleries will provide a reminder that Americans are participating in one of the most crucial elections of our lifetime.

Please join us for the safely distanced Friends and Family Open House: Friday, September 11, 2020, 12–4 p.m. With special guests: Mayor Nan Whaley, Dayton City Commissioners, and Community Leaders from the Dayton Unit, NAACP; the NCCJ, and more. The Co’s Director and guest Curator remarks will be at 3 p.m.

Ward’s career has seen exhibitions at The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; The Walker Arts Center Minneapolis, MN; and The Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL. His career retrospective opened at The New Museum, NY in February 2019 and has since traveled to The Contemporary Arts Center, Houston, TX, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver.

Nari Ward’s, We The People can be viewed at The Co’s gallery September 11– November 30, 2020. Please visit thecontemporary.org for more information and gallery viewing hours.

ABOUT THE CONTEMPORARY DAYTON

Mission: To provide art for the community and a community for artists.

Overview: The Contemporary Dayton (The Co) is the region’s contemporary art center. Established in 1991 as Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC), a 501c3, The Co produces and presents original exhibitions and programs, art events, community partnerships, and artist opportunities. Exhibitions and education programs feature artists living and working today, both nationally and in Ohio, with an emphasis on those whose work focuses on issues of social justice. In addition to its three galleries—open to all and always free—its retail store, the CoSHOP, provides income for Ohio artists and extends The Co’s accessibility to art, from visitor engagement to educational outreach through store products, programs, and experiences.

The Co is proud to support the creation of connections among the arts, community building, civic engagement, community planning, and use of public space, and makes an annual economic impact of 3.4 million to the region. Recently raising 1 million during the Pandemic to expand and move into its new home in downtown’s historic Dayton Arcade, The Co is led by Executive Director Eva Buttacavoli, a 30-year art museum administrator, curator, and educator, whose previous roles were at The Contemporary Austin, TX and The Perez Art Museum Miami, FL; and Curator Michael Goodson, who previously served as Curator at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Beeler Gallery, Columbus College of Art and Design, OH; and as Director at James Cohan Gallery, NY.

The Contemporary Dayton receives operating support from Culture Works, Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District, Ohio Arts Council, the Virginia W. Kettering Foundation, and Members.

Search