The History of the African American Visual Artists Guild




The idea of a group for artists of African descent in the Dayton area, came to life in 1992 under the hopeful eyes of Dayton artists Curtis Barnes Sr., and Willis "Bing" Davis. Their vision was to bring together artists and art patrons to share their passion for the visual arts and work to uplift artists of African descent throughout the Miami Valley. So began the African American Visual Artists Guild of Dayton Arts club. The club slowly grew into the African American Visual Artists Guild (AAVAG) which officially became a 501 (C)3) non-profit corporation in August of 1995. Its membership is made up of professional artists, patrons of the arts, hobbyist and interested members of the community, all with a shared commitment to realize the organization's goals.



In Our Twenty Five Years of Existence We Have:

  •      Become an officially state recognized  nonprofit arts activity

  •      Maintained an open membership

  •      Curated exhibits in public and private educational institutions, civic and government entities

  •      Conducted membership and awards programs

  •      Been recipients of Ohio Arts Council grants to address internal development

  •      Provided to the community, professionals to speak on arts topics

  •      Participated and exhibited throughout the community during the Black History annual  celebrations

  •      Developed tours to area cities to view and critique art matters

  •      Brought to the community, internationally recognized artists and professionals

  •      Served as the Arts arm of the Twentig organization, in conducting workshops for young emerging artists

  •      Participated as a partner with the Dayton Black Culture Festival Corporation since 1994 until the present

  •      Exchanged exhibits with arts organizations within the city and regional areas

  •      Developed a rotating exhibit at the Roosevelt Center

  •      Provides an “Annual Art Day” for senior citizens and young teens, free of charge      

  •      Established an “Annual National Exhibit” for National and International artists with The National Afro-American Museum and Culture Center in Wilberforce, Ohio.(Ohio Historical Connection)      

  •      Developed traveling Art Exhibits within the city of Dayton, featuring historical sites in the Wright Dunbar-Wolf Creek neighborhoods of West Dayton.      

  •      Secured permanent tenant office space and exhibit space at Central State Dayton, 840 Germantown Street.      

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During the course of festivals, exhibits and workshops, every effort and consideration was given to the inclusion, encouragement, and the display of the art work of our youth. Hundreds of submission have been viewed and critiqued. The rewards for us have been the positive responses from the public and private sector institutions, schools, art departments, faculties and community groups throughout the metropolitan and regional area.


Children using airbrush  Children drawing  Young adult learning airbrush techniques


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