Roediger: COVID-19 has been ‘disastrous,’ for Dayton Art Institute, others. Fight continues.

This opinion piece by Dayton Art Institute CEO Michael Roediger appeared on the Dayton Daily News Ideas and Voices page on Sunday, Aug. 9. Guest columnists were asked to reflect on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Dayton's arts community and what can be done to help. Other featured columns are linked below.

The now iconic structure that Dayton Art Institute has resided in since 1930 came to be amid the Great Depression. It’s a fascinating story of triumph over tragedy.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Dayton is strong. This community and the DAI have seen hard times — very hard times — and have always managed to weather the storms. For more than a century, the Dayton community has supported and invested in the DAI as well as its other community assets.

Without that investment and commitment Dayton would not have this world-class museum that continues to operate today.

For the DAI, as with so many of our local businesses and employees, COVID-19 has been disastrous. At this point, the museum will be down more than 25 percent of our total budget with lost revenue for the year and likely far more by year-end.

That’s at least $1.25 million and could be more than $2 million. It’s a game changer and is not sustainable into the future.

One easy solution for anyone in our community to do is step up and help the DAI and these local businesses to increase revenue locally. Increasing small business revenue locally means more jobs and ensures we keep our dollars local and reinvest in our community.

Ultimately, buying and supporting local business is a really critical part of an economic recovery plan that we can all participate in and help with. This holds true for the DAI.

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

There's no question that the museum needs the community's support now more than ever. We need you to support our Virtual Oktoberfest that just launched.

We need you to buy memberships, make a gift to the annual fund and purchase gifts from our Museum Store. We need you to come see our current exhibition Samurai, Ghosts and Lovers: Yoshitoshi’s Complete 100 Aspects of the Moon in a safe environment.

We need you to help spread the word about what a treasure this museum — your museum — is to have in our community.

We are the keepers of this collection and this building, but ultimately this is your museum. I

t’s your child’s museum.

It will be their child’s museum. What makes Dayton great is our incredible community.

People often think that their gift will not have an impact. Every gift and any level helps. Now is the time for those of us who can to step up and help keep the DAI great for us and for the next generation.

Michael Roediger is the director and CEO of the Dayton Art Institute.

About the Author