DayGlo Lights Up the Wintry North Shore with Unique Paint Project

For the past three years, the Cleveland-based DayGlo Color Corporation has teamed up with Tremont's Doubting Thomas Gallery and local artists to annually light up Cleveland's dark winter months with ultraviolet (black) light and a full spectrum of glowing, fluorescent paint. Each year, DayGlo donates gallons of its unique paint to artists throughout Northeast Ohio. The artists use the paint to create original two- and three-dimensional artwork. Then the gallery is lit with black light; causing the paintings to glow brighter than Rudolph's red nose.

In a continuing effort to outdo themselves, organizers have moved this year's show to the east side and Collinwood's Waterloo Arts. DayGlo IV opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 4, in conjunction with December's Walk All Over Waterloo event. DayGlo IV features new, never-before-seen work by about 40 local artists.

"One of the things I like about the DayGlo exhibit is that it marries together two industries in Cleveland – manufacturing and art – into an exciting gallery event that is as entertaining for regulars as it is for the less frequent gallery goer," explains Waterloo Arts Executive Director Amy Callahan. "Cleveland has a long history in the coatings industry and we are proud to have DayGlo Color Corporation headquartered here and a partner for this exhibit. DayGlo generously provides all the paint so the artists can make new work for the show each year. Artists new to the DayGlo exhibit are challenged by fluorescent paint's unique characteristics while veteran DayGlo artists continue to explore and develop their technique working with this unusual medium."

Callahan hopes to use the exhibition as an educational tool and catalyst for important discussions. She elaborates, "Science is essential to all art, whether in the chemistry of materials used, the engineering of a sculpture, the mathematical proportions in a design, or the physics of light, and so art can also be used to demonstrate science in an engaging way. I'm excited to develop the DayGlo exhibit as a teaching tool for local science classes who can visit the exhibit as they are exploring the properties of light or chemical compounds. The arts should be an integral part of any education, regardless of one's career path."

Local artist John Saile and Doubting Thomas' Dr. Theresa Boyd collaborated on the first exhibition after Saile exhibited his own DayGlo paintings at Doubting Thomas in 2012. Inspired by Saile's paintings, Boyd asked Saile to curate an entire group exhibition of artwork created with the fluorescent paint. DayGlo Color Corporation has donated paint for each exhibition, and last year generously funded prizes for first, second and third place awards; presented by a panel of jurors.

"DayGlo paint has a captivating way of jumpstarting the psychedelic imagination," says Saile. The popularity of the DayGlo Show has grown by leaps and bounds since 2012. This year brought with it a realization that the show had outgrown its original venue. Waterloo Arts graciously accommodated DayGlo IV. Amy Callahan has done a wonderful service to the arts community by giving us an opportunity to move to Waterloo and by agreeing to organize DayGlo4."

Saile was the one to originally reach out to the DayGlo Color Corporation. He explains, "Early on, we sought the support of DayGlo Color Corporation to contribute an array of radiant florescent paints so that we might distribute the paints free to artists who wished to participate in the show. DayGlo is native to Cleveland and has been an integral part of the city's industrial scene for many years. Throughout the world, we live with DayGlo colors in our daily lives, more often unaware that this fascinating invention originates from our hometown. DayGlo Color Corporation has been very generous in contributing paints to the show; and, in doing so, has encouraged local artists to explore their beautiful fluorescent paints as a brilliant fine art medium."

The DayGlo Color Corporation dates back to two brothers, Bob and Joe Switzer, who were experimenting with ways to make colors brighter. Accidentally, they found the colors had a unique "glowing" effect under ultraviolet light. Early on, these new paints found their way into magic and stage shows, as well as promotional posters for films.

However, by the 40s, the Switzer brothers were working on colors that would "glow" in daylight for efforts during World War II. These new pigments were used to send signals from the ground to planes thousands of feet in the air. Additionally, aircraft carrier crews wore fluorescent uniforms lit by UV lamps to guide planes during nighttime landings. Also, buoys painted in DayGlo paints marked safe zones in the water after they'd been cleared of mines and floating explosives.

The company itself was founded in 1946. In the 1960s, the company officially changed its name from Switzer Bros. to DayGlo Color Corporation. Today, the term DayGlo is synonymous with fluorescent paint, and its headquarters are located at 4515 St. Clair Ave. The company has production facilities in Twinsburg as well as Cudahy, California and Houthalen, Belgium.

DayGlo IV remains on view through the end of the year. The exhibition will close with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. during January's Walk All Over Waterloo on New Year's Day, Friday, Jan. 1. Additional gallery hours are Wednesdays from noon to 10 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays from 4 to 10 p.m. or by appointment.

This year's participants include Dunya Abrahim, Alexandra Birch, Christi Birchfield, Ross Bochnek, Dru Christine , Mori Clark, Charles Coven, Ryan Cress, JoAnn DePolo, Joan of Art (Deveney), Laurie Deveney, Michael Gill, Mike Greenwald, Jacci Hammer, Laurel Herbold, Scott Hudson, James Jenkins, Mark Keffer, George Kocar, Rachel Latina, Liz Maugans, Shawn Mishak, Loren Naji, Angela Oster, Lauren Paglisotti, Scott Pickering, Nancy Prudic, Joshua Rex, Tina Ripley, Lasaundra Robinson, John Saile, Diane Shoemaker, Brittany Simmons, Carina Smith, Kathleen Sonnhalter, Rachel Strongoli, Nico Pico Train, Douglas Max Utter, Grace Wei-Chih Wen and Evie Zimmer.