Art Institute opens new auditorium


DAYTON — The Dayton Art Institute has dedicated and opened its newly renovated auditorium.

The museum also announced the auditorium has been renamed the Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium in honor of a generous gift from the Dayton-area philanthropists to help fund the renovations.

“Our auditorium is one of the most beautiful performance spaces in the region, thanks to the vision of Julia Shaw Carnell, who funded the construction of our historic museum building in the 1920s,” the Dayton Art Institute’s director & CEO, Michael R. Roediger, said. “With this generous gift from Mimi and Stuart Rose, it’s now received a much-needed transformation for the 21st century.”

“A great building like this needed a modernized auditorium — something that was more usable,” Mimi and Stuart Rose said. “We never dreamed it would be such a beautiful update. It’s a very rich and warm space now, very welcoming.”

The sound system and lighting were upgraded or replaced; the cork floors, carpeting and seating were replaced; the stage floor was sanded and refinished; the wood doors, trim and stage front were reconditioned; floor vent covers were removed, refinished and reinstalled; the marble walls were cleaned and polished; and the stage curtains were removed for repair and cleaning, which included stabilizing the circa-1931 curtain and valance. In addition, backstage video monitoring and three CCTV cameras were installed, and an ADA lift to offer ADA access to the stage will also be installed.

The Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium, originally known as the Music Room and later the NCR Renaissance Auditorium, was an integral part of the DAI’s historic museum building when it opened in January 1930. It quickly became the home to many organizations and community events. Most notably, it was the first stage for Dayton Ballet, which is the second-oldest ballet company in the United States. Many Daytonians also remember having their piano and dance recitals there as children, as well as having their graduations in the auditorium.

Today, the auditorium is used for a variety of programs, from performances by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, to film premiers, organ concerts, corporate meetings, weddings and events.

“I am proud to say that we have updated the auditorium to make it state-of-the-art, while keeping the original beauty and charm,” Roediger said. “The Mimi and Stuart Rose Auditorium is a place of celebration that we anticipate will become an even more sought-after venue.”

“From educational programming, to social events, to the great art that hangs on the walls and the special exhibitions, The DAI is a centerpiece of the community,” the Roses said. “It brings people together, and that is so important here in Dayton–bringing people from all different ages and diverse backgrounds together for all of the programs. There’s always something great happening at the museum, and anyone who wants to participate can do so.”