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Dayton’s Not Dead: Gem City Selfie Museum

Gem City Selfie Museum | Photo by Isaac Warnecke| The Wright State Guardian


Gem City Selfie Museum will offer art therapy and impactful photo sets in addition to their already thriving pop-up exhibits to the Dayton community. 

Mission

Gem City Selfie Museum has a strong emphasis on community, but also on the importance of mental health.

“This is everyone’s museum, it’s the community’s. That’s why I’m so adamant on input and ideas and creating community groups, which will start very soon. Because we want everyone’s input and we want everyone to feel like they were a part of bringing this historical museum to the city of Dayton and its surrounding areas,” NaAsiaha Simon, founder of Gem City Selfie museum, said. 

Simon first thought of the idea of a selfie museum after her first brain surgery in 2020. She saw the importance of photography and art therapy as a form of healing after being introduced to color therapy exercises.

According to the Gem City Selfie Museum website: “The mission of the Gem City Selfie Museum is to be a space with interactive illustrations that are created to help alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress. Cultivating community engagement and sparking creativity through the use of visual art installations to bring focus to positive life experiences and boost confidence.”

Pop-up exhibits will continue to follow the themes of social awareness and mental health, such as disability awareness month and brain tumor awareness month. Teresa Perretta, director of development, hopes to spread the idea of their mission to a wider area.

“I plan to support the Gem City Selfie Museum and the Selfie Squad into global expansion. My goal is for our selfie walls, museums and pop-up events to exist worldwide.  Sharing the joy throughout all of humankind, made with love, from the Gem City,” Perretta said.

Services

The most recent exhibit for Black History Month will be open for the duration of February in the main branch of the Dayton Metro Library. Everyone is encouraged to stop by the themed photo sets celebrating the work of famous black artists and educators, all of which are provided free of charge. Similar exhibitions will continue to happen with varying themes.

The selfie museum itself is set to open at the end of spring or early summer of this year. The museum was originally set to open in the summer of 2021, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed construction efforts. 

The space is 8,000 square feet that includes 33 walls, five rooms and five closets. Every quarter the room themes will rotate to something new, often decided by members of the Dayton community such as regional artists and local organizations. These local organizations and artists may sign up for this on the Gem City Selfie website with a form coming soon. These community groups may choose to be involved in the art and color therapy services offered.

The museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Sunday will have special hours from noon to 6 p.m. Prices are $25 dollars per person per hour and are open to everyone regardless of age. Masks will be required, however, guests may take them off for pictures.

Student opinion

The museum has not revealed its address publicly yet but will be located just 15 minutes away by car from Wright State University in the Oregon District. Freshman Heidi Raber believes it could be beneficial for creative students on campus, but is unsure if college students will be motivated to go to such a business.

“There are a lot of creative people and art majors and also just people wanting to get to know people. But no [people might not visit], because it’s not really at Wright State, it’s in a different location,” Raber said.

Raber also mentioned that the price may be out of range for some students, but appreciates that they offer art therapy.

Interested students can follow Gem Selfie Museum on Instagram at @gemcityselfie.