1001 E. 2nd St., Suite 2405,
Dayton, OH 45402.
1001 E. 2nd St., Suite 2405,
Dayton, OH 45402.
The work of Mike Elsass, one of Dayton’s most prominent and prolific artists, will debut this Friday at a first-of-its-kind art opening this Friday at the Dana L. Wiley Gallery, at 1001 East Second Street (B/C Entrance-Second Floor) in Dayton.
Experience Mike Elsass’ work in ways it has never been seen before in the special curation “Dayton Steel” debuting Friday, August 13 through October 17, 2021.
The exhibit will open to the public with a special event from 7-9 p.m. this Friday, during which new pieces will debut and be displayed in interesting and exciting ways that have never been seen before, putting new twists on the “brush before brain” philosophy that earned Elsass his reputation. The event is open to the public and will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres from acclaimed Chef Joseph Fish.
Elsass paints–and lives–by the philosophy that there are no mistakes, pushing people to embrace action before thought, and inspiring them to open their minds and engage with the unexpected. People get stuck in their own heads. Elsass forces them out. He never knows what he is painting until it’s done, and it’s usually more about the journey than the result.
Elsass has been one of the most generous and prolific artists in the history of Dayton, having invested $2.5 million into beautifying spaces, donating artwork and partnering with nonprofits to create meaningful experiences through art. Throughout the pandemic, he donated even more artwork to local businesses to be auctioned off, and exchanged artwork for donations to area nonprofits in an effort to keep the energy up in the region.
Mike’s art celebrates imperfection, bringing together what’s typically abandoned and forgotten into breathtaking statement pieces that capture emotion through composition. Often using materials discarded as garbage, Mike uses things like tar, oil, grit, silicate sand, spent whiskey mash–and this year, even some cicadas–to intentionally deteriorate his pieces before blanketing them with layer upon layer of paint in various colors.
Elsass’ enchanting and eclectic studio space now occupies 9,000 square feet of studio space at Front Street Galleries, which is also home to Dana L. Wiley Gallery, where Dayton Steel will debut on Friday.
The show will continue through Oct. 17, with a special artist talk:
Join Mike Elsass for a discussion on his artwork, process and how his artwork has impacted the Dayton community.
Please register for the Art Talk on Eventbrite. Limited seating available.
Prolific Local Artist Mike Elsass is working overtime to give back to the local community by launching a new charity project to benefit Dayton-area nonprofits.
Elsass announced the project this week, when he told his followers on social media if they could provide proof of a donation to a local nonprofit, he would reward the contribution with a gift of art. The idea picked up momentum quickly, and Elsass has since implemented a structure to best support the collaborative project.
Patrons can email MikeElsassCharityProject@gmail.com with proof of a donation to a local charity. Contributions more than $50 in value will receive an email notification to be printed and taken to Elsass’ studio at Front Street, where they can be exchanged for an original piece of art valued at $150-$300.
Elsass said the project was an effort to keep up momentum for local nonprofits in the wake of the global pandemic, which continues to have a devastating effect on small businesses, as well as local charities. The project is designed to keep people enthusiastic about the art community in Dayton and also show the commitment of the arts to continue working collaboratively throughout the community.
The project will continue until March 21. Proof of donations will only be accepted at the Mike Elsass Charity Project email address, and contributors must present the email response, as well as valid ID to pick out their art at Front Street, which they can do from 9 am to 3 pm daily or during First Friday or Third Sunday events.
Renowned Local Artist Mike Elsass is reaching into his own collection to spread the color of energy around to local Dayton businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Elsass has started by donating two pieces inspired by local hattery Brim to the business in support of his favorite hat shop to help cover costs during the pandemic.
The two piece set, which is done in the iconic Elsass style of paint on rusted steel, each measure 20.5” x 20.5”, and are valued at $1,000, but Brim will be auctioning them off via a local pickup-on auction on ebay to raise money for the shop. Opening bid is set at $500.
Owner Amelia O’Dowd has maintained paying employees despite having been closed since the initial shutdown order. Brim is now going through the process of reopening slowly for appointment-only shopping, but like so many businesses, is working to catch up to business lost.
Mike personally selected and signed the pieces before dropping them off (socially-distance style) to be signed and then auctioned by Brim.
“I want to do whatever I can to help these businesses that need help right now,” Elsass said. “Dayton is hurting, and if art can help, I want to help.”
The pieces for Brim are listed at a starting bid of $500, but Elsass is hoping they can go much higher to help the business.
One of the two pieces is signed on the back by both Elsass and the Brim staff of the selected as a message of appreciation for the eventual buyer.
O’Dowd said she was extremely thankful for the unexpected help.
“All of us at Brim are very thankful for Mike Elsass leaning in and supporting us and our small business as we navigate these uncertain times.”
Mike Elsass has started his outdoor painting season in a lot next to The Front Street Building Co., but when I caught up with him all he wanted to talk about was last year’s outdoor painting.
“Last year I painted once a week in the parking lot of the Life Enrichment Center,” Mike told me. “They are a faith-based organization that helps all kinds of people in this area. The building is at 425 Findlay Street, next to a large metal recycling center, which seemed like the right place for an artist like me who paints on weathered steel.”
“A group going through a sobriety program painted with me. They were working to reclaim their lives, so I tried to use as many reclaimed materials in the art as possible – like used sandpaper and steel shavings. Then I invited others to join us. We had civic leaders, other artists, and even my grandchildren grab a brush and make art that now hangs in the LEC conference room.”
“Some of that art will be on display, and for sale on May 10 at Infiniti of Dayton (299 Loop Road) from 5 to 8 pm. The money raised goes to LEC and three other great local organizations – Good Shepherd Ministries, United Rehabilitation Services and the Therapeutic Riding Institute.”
Mike told me he’s planning a larger effort at LEC this year. If you have any paint you don’t need, he’d love to have it. You could drop it off at the Life Enrichment Center parking lot any week day between 9 and 5. Just leave it by the yellow truck behind the building. If that doesn’t work, just message Mike’s facebook page and he’ll arrange a way to get it.