Thursday January 7, 2010

Archaeology of a Neighborhood

A student-created exhibit on display in January uncovers the history of one of the University of Dayton's best-known symbols of community: the south student neighborhood.

"The Archaeology of a Neighborhood" runs Jan. 4 through Feb. 10 at ArtStreet Studio D, with an opening reception from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

The exhibit is the work of 12 students in a new course that examined the area bounded by Stewart and Brown streets and Irving Avenue as it evolved from farmland to student housing. The course also taught students about the environmental infrastructure of the neighborhood such as the power grid and the regional watershed system, which includes the now underground Rubicon Creek, to help them understand the neighborhood's impact on the larger community.

"This has been a process of looking back, unpeeling layers of history and community," said Dennie Eagleson, co-instructor of the course. "The result is a great testimony to the importance of the neighborhood and the places — the particular memories — that alumni have about the neighborhood."

The exhibit features 11 documentary-style audiovisual interviews with alumni who lived in the student neighborhood in the '70s, '80s and '90s. The students also interviewed 11 "community builders" — people associated with University of Dayton who are currently making significant contributions to the neighborhood.

The interviews will be shown on a television in the center of the studio, complete with mismatched furniture and decorations to replicate the decor of a typical house in the student neighborhood.

The walls are covered with traditional, two-dimensional displays, including personal place maps and a photo mosaic of student houses in the neighborhood, combined to create the student-housing logo.

Other projects include a song, audio slideshows of the sounds of the student neighborhood, interviews with current students and rephotography — the combination of old and recent photographs of the same place.

ArtStreet is located at the intersection of Lawnview Avenue and Kiefaber Street on the University of Dayton campus. It is open 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday.

ArtStreet at 937-229-5101 or visit

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