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Downtown Dayton celebrates Art in the City

Jul 21, 2023

The streets of downtown Dayton will sparkle with color when Art in the City returns Saturday, Aug. 5.

The annual celebration of the arts will feature over 300 artists creating, performing and selling work throughout downtown from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Presented by the Downtown Dayton Partnership as the signature event for the AES Ohio Summer in the City program, Art in the City serves as the community’s artist outlet and a chance for art lovers to get an “up close and personal” peak at Dayton artistry in action, according to DDP President Sandra Gudorf.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

“Everywhere you look downtown, you will find art, music and entertainment, sometimes in the most unexpected places,” said Gudorf, spearheading her final Art in the City having retired at the end of July after serving as DDP president for 16 years. “I love this city and I love downtown. It has been a wonderful career.”


· Art Bazaar on 5th in the Oregon District – More than 40 local artists share their goods for sale and host live demonstrations

· Block printing project with Leesa Haapapuro – Paint a stylized letter using pre-engraved printmaking blocks

· Build a badge with the Dayton Art Institute – Use a button-making machine to create a unique piece of art

· Chalk the Walk with Boy Blue – Color ocean-themed designs in a community chalk mural by “Boy Blue”

· Community skyline painting with the Westside Makerspace – Use acrylic pieces to create a larger-than-life skyline design

· Decorate zippered pouches with Dayton Sewing Collaborative – Decorate pre-made nylon pouches with fabric pens or learn how to make your own with a sewing machine

· Family Zone at Levitt Pavilion Dayton – Activities for all ages including a bubble zone, face painting, hula hooping, music and more

· Introduction to Belly Dance Basics with Zattana Al-Naseem – All ages are welcome to learn basic belly dance movements and steps

· Learn plein air sketching with Urban Sketchers – Cover the sketching basics with watercolors, pens, and a small sketchbook

· Line Dancing with Jai – Learn step-by-step instructions for a dance to perform together

· Living photo opp with Tiffany Clark – Walk into a painting with painted props and live models painted on-site

· Paper Collage Workshop with the African American Visual Artists Guild – Create an abstract collage with different kinds of paper

· Peace & Harmony brush painting with Yufeng Wang – Learn the ancient art of East Asian brush painting techniques with a live demonstration and workshop led by Yufeng Wang

· Spin Art T-Shirts with Front Street – Design your own T-shirt to take home

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


· Art Full Circle: A Fine Arts Showcase in the Dayton Arcade: Nine rotating artists perform demonstrations of their respective mediums

· Dance performances in the Dayton Metro Library – See dancers of all kinds take the stage

· Giant piano in the PNC Arts Annex: Play your favorite tunes with your feet on PNC’s big floor piano

· Interactive Dance Stage in the Schuster Center Wintergarden – Pick up some steps and learn a variety of dance styles

· Live music and hands-on activities in Courthouse Square – Take the stage with karaoke and enjoy kids’ activities with the International Peace Museum

· Playwright Race pop-up performances – Actors from the Human Race Theatre Company incorporate your suggestions into their performances

· Street entertainment in the Fire Blocks and Water Street Districts – Live musicians fill the street with sound as you travel Art in the City

After a round a pop-up performances from a troupe of actors last year, members of the Human Race Theatre Company are returning to perform plays based on community suggestions. Human Race Artistic Director Emily Wells said the process comes together very quickly with only hours to create, rehearse and present a finished 5-minute skit. Aside from a fun and chaotic day of performing, she also noted Art in the City significantly establishes Dayton as a place where artists can come to live, create and thrive.

“There’s a huge community of artists that live and work here, and they choose to,” Wells said. “It’s not that they can’t make it in Chicago or New York City or L.A., but they choose to make the Dayton area their home... (Art in the City) is a way that we can support developing new voices in playwriting here in the Dayton area.”

Dayton artist Benjamin “Boy Blue” Baugham is among the participations involved in Saturday’s festivities, and he will take his art to the streets of downtown — literally. He has been a chalk artist for over a decade, creating large, realistic art pieces on the sidewalk. He’s created massive community chalk murals for three years at Art in the City, which have shut down several streets over the years to be completed. This year, he will scale down the mural, but is intent on making a piece that is incredibly interactive.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

“I like to make sure there are elements in my murals that anybody of any age can interact with, whether that’s filling it in or adding their own little spin to something that is curated,” Baugham said. “I always make sure there are small elements that kids and adults can interact with without feeling like they’re messing up the vision or inhibiting the completion of the mural in any way.”

When working with chalk, Baugham said the process can be brutal and physically taxing, but that makes the finished product even more worthwhile. Creating large scale or hyper-realistic drawings takes hours of time out in the sun lying on the ground and also requires “lots of endurance (regarding) your hands and skin,” he said. It’s also a very visual process because audiences can see the effort it takes for his creation to come together right there on the street.

“While the medium is very non-permanent, the effect is long-lasting,” Baugham said. “People want to pay attention to something they can’t look up later, or they’ll try to fully understand the piece of art if they know they’re one of the few people that get to see it in person.”

Organizers eagerly anticipate visitors to interact with hundreds of artists showing off their talent throughout downtown.

“We’re so fortunate for a community our size to have the incredible arts we have and the incredible artists that live in our community,” Gudorf said. “We’re excited to strut our stuff.”

For more information or to view the Art in the City program and map, visit

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam


What: Art in the City

Where: Throughout downtown Dayton

When: Saturday, Aug. 5 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Cost: Free

More info:

About the Author

Zoë is an All Media Journalist with She earned her BA in communication from the University of Dayton and has four years in the journalism industry, including bylines in national and local news. She previously worked as a reporting intern for Dayton Daily News.