Dazzling light and dancing penguins: 7 Dayton Art Institute shows that wowed

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Into the Ether : Contemporary Light Artists will be on display at the Dayton Art Institute through June 26.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Dayton Art Institute will soon open its latest exhibition, “Kay WalkingStick: An American Artist,” the first retrospective of one of the most accomplished Native-American artists in the United States.

This exhibit, on display through May 7, is another in a long list of stunning sights showcased at the DAI.

Here’s a look at seven exhibits from the past five years that have mesmerized art lovers.

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Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, makes 450 penguins follow his movements. The "Penguins Mirror" by artist Daniel Rozin was one of three installations that were part of the "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water". LISA POWELL / STAFF

Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, makes 450 penguins follow his movements. The "Penguins Mirror" by artist Daniel Rozin was one of three installations that were part of the "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water". LISA POWELL / STAFF
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Michael Roediger, director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute, makes 450 penguins follow his movements. The "Penguins Mirror" by artist Daniel Rozin was one of three installations that were part of the "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water". LISA POWELL / STAFF

Penguins really get down. Thanks to the wonders of technology and a creative New York artist by the name of Daniel Rozin, 450 penguins in the museum's gallery were always on the move in the exhibit, "The Antarctic Sublime & Elements of Nature." They interacted with visitors and performed a special "penguin dance" for visitors' entertainment.

If you waved your arms or legs in front of the penguins, you would see your own image reflected in the colony.

ExploreREAD MORE: Dancing penguins a must-see
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"Chromasphere" by Diane Willow " Sometimes energizing or sometimes calming, humans respond physically and emotionally to the changing light of the sky and atmosphere. Built on this premise, Diane Willow designed the immersive installation of light and allows viewers to tune the light to their desired hue. "Chromasphere" invites viewers to traverse through its internal pathway and change the colors of both the internal pathmway and change the colors of both the internal and external LEDs, transporting them into an entirely unique atmosphere in which they merge with light, color and space." LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

"Chromasphere" by Diane Willow  " Sometimes energizing or sometimes calming, humans respond physically and emotionally to the changing light of the sky and atmosphere. Built on this premise, Diane Willow designed the immersive installation of light and allows viewers to tune the light to their desired hue. "Chromasphere" invites viewers to traverse through its internal pathway and change the colors of both the internal pathmway and change the colors of both the internal and external LEDs, transporting them into an entirely unique atmosphere in which they merge with light, color and space."  LISA POWELL / STAFF
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"Chromasphere" by Diane Willow " Sometimes energizing or sometimes calming, humans respond physically and emotionally to the changing light of the sky and atmosphere. Built on this premise, Diane Willow designed the immersive installation of light and allows viewers to tune the light to their desired hue. "Chromasphere" invites viewers to traverse through its internal pathway and change the colors of both the internal pathmway and change the colors of both the internal and external LEDs, transporting them into an entirely unique atmosphere in which they merge with light, color and space." LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Let there be light. "Into the Ether: Contemporary Light Artists" displayed large and fascinating pieces, and most responded when you approached them. "Snow Mirror" picked up reflected light from your body — if you moved slowly and stood in front of the camera positioned on the screen, you could see your image materialize, then disappear.

ExploreREAD MORE: Illuminating exhibit provides interactive experiences
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"American Sampler: Grandma Moses and the Handicraft Tradition" featured approximately 50 works by Grandma Moses, including her paintings, embroideries, a quilt and other handmade items, along with examples of embroidery from the 17th through 19th centuries. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

"American Sampler: Grandma Moses and the Handicraft Tradition" featured approximately 50 works by Grandma Moses, including her paintings, embroideries, a quilt and other handmade items, along with examples of embroidery from the 17th through 19th centuries. LISA POWELL / STAFF
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"American Sampler: Grandma Moses and the Handicraft Tradition" featured approximately 50 works by Grandma Moses, including her paintings, embroideries, a quilt and other handmade items, along with examples of embroidery from the 17th through 19th centuries. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Famous folk artist. "American Sampler: Grandma Moses and the Handicraft Tradition" featured the work of Grandma Moses, who lived from 1860 to 1961, had done some painting over the years but began painting seriously after arthritis made it difficult for her to embroider and she couldn't be as useful around the farm.

ExploreREAD MORE: Grandma Moses comes to DAI
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Artist Julie Green's "The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates," showcased hand painted plates depicting the final meal request of death row inmates. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Artist Julie Green's "The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates," showcased hand painted plates depicting the final meal request of death row inmates. LISA POWELL / STAFF
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Artist Julie Green's "The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates," showcased hand painted plates depicting the final meal request of death row inmates. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

A final meal. Decorative plates painted with food made up the exhibition "The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates." Each dish represented a final meal requested by a death row inmate before execution: fried chicken and watermelon, a pack of Pall Malls, one bag of assorted Jolly Ranchers, one jar of dill pickles and more.

ExploreREAD MORE: “The Last Supper” focuses on final meals

A celebration of color. "Dayton Celebrates Glass" showcased a range of artistic glass.

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Dayton Celebrates Glass: Chihuly, Littleton, Labino and Beyond showcased studio glass from its' early years to today's contemporary artists. This is a detail from the blown glass piece "Dinosaur" by artist Lino Tagliapietra. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Dayton Celebrates Glass: Chihuly, Littleton, Labino and Beyond showcased studio glass from its' early years to today's contemporary artists. This is a detail from the blown glass piece "Dinosaur" by artist Lino Tagliapietra.  LISA POWELL / STAFF
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Dayton Celebrates Glass: Chihuly, Littleton, Labino and Beyond showcased studio glass from its' early years to today's contemporary artists. This is a detail from the blown glass piece "Dinosaur" by artist Lino Tagliapietra. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

The amazing pieces ranged from a glass kimono by Karen LaMonte to a miniature glass diner by Emily Brock — complete with tiny glass utensils and glass bacon and eggs. There’s cartoon-inspired work by Dan Dailey, delicate glass tapestries by Harue Shimomoto, and a glass boat by Bertil Vallien.

ExploreREAD MORE: Celebrate Dayton’s love for glass
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Visitors to the Dayton Art Institute view the special exhibition "Stephen Knapp: Lightpaintings". The lightpaintings, which appear to be painted on the walls, are made of light, glass and stainless steel. STAFF PHOTO BY LISA POWELL

Credit: Lisa Powell

Visitors to the Dayton Art Institute view the special exhibition "Stephen Knapp: Lightpaintings". The lightpaintings, which appear to be painted on the walls, are made of light, glass and stainless steel. STAFF PHOTO BY LISA POWELL
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Visitors to the Dayton Art Institute view the special exhibition "Stephen Knapp: Lightpaintings". The lightpaintings, which appear to be painted on the walls, are made of light, glass and stainless steel. STAFF PHOTO BY LISA POWELL

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

The principals of light. In 2012 the DAI brought us a feast for the eyes, "Stephen Knapp: Lightpaintings," made up of 13 shimmering installations. The colorful images appeared to be painted, but they were created with light and glass.

ExploreREAD MORE: Glass exhibit coaxes color from white light
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Chinese Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art" and "Maya Lin: Flow. " were on display at the Dayton Art Instititue in 2012. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Chinese Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art" and "Maya Lin: Flow. " were on display at the Dayton Art Instititue in 2012. LISA POWELL / STAFF
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Chinese Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art" and "Maya Lin: Flow. " were on display at the Dayton Art Instititue in 2012. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Dramatic size and shapes. "Changing Landscapes: Contemporary Chinese Fiber Art" was billed as the first exhibition of Chinese contemporary fiber art to travel outside of China. One room was devoted to a striking boat-like creation that's also reminiscent of a crescent moon.

ExploreREAD MORE: Fabulous fiber: Contemporary Art from China on display

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