DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) —Two newer, yet staple, black owned organizations have teamed up to celebrate Black History Month.
Yesterday, The Gem City Selfie Museum launched a pop up exhibit at the Gem City Market..
The ‘Gem City Black History Month Pop-Up exhibit: Building Our Black Future Together’ was built and painted in just 3 days, but all parties involved hope it makes a difference in the community for a lifetime.
This year’s exhibit honored local black entrepreneur, Ricky Poole, after a long life of achievements, including his contributions to the community through his health food stores.
City of Dayton Mayor, Jeffery Mims Jr., who is also a lifelong friend of the honoree, says Poole’s legacy shines through at the exhibit.
“So, when you look at people like him and you look at some of the pictures that we have here in this display, it all talks about mind issues. It talks about positive things as far as your body, as far as health is concerned, and it’s very much important,” Mims said.
The Gem City Selfie Museum was founded in 2021 and the artist and builder behind each of the paintings in the exhibit, Byron Smith, says he hopes his art can help ease people’s minds through just taking pictures.
“Hope that people can come in and just feel; they get the feeling and the colors and they just feel comfortable first, from the expression. I want everybody to just enjoy themselves looking at the pieces, and just get a feel for it. Just relax and take selfies with them and you can put your own twist on things,” Byron Smith, Gem City Selfie artist and curator said.
NaAisaha ‘Ny’ Simon, a Wilberforce University alum is the mind behind the museum and she hopes that with this new pop-up exhibit, shoppers can experience a taste of the museum on their normal grocery store run. She is hoping to strengthen the community’s mental health in a fun, yet effective way, especially on the westside, which can sometimes be neglected.
“On the westside of Dayton, there are a lot of resources that may not be available to the community. However, we want to, you know, be in that space where we can show people that you can take selfies and you can feel better about yourself from different aspects. Whether it’s with food, whether it’s with the gym, whether it’s with historical birds or even affirmations, there are different ways that you can see yourself by taking selfies with the selfie walls,“ Simon said.
The pop up exhibit is at the Gem City Market which is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will run through the entirety of Black History Month.