Exhibits

YDL hosts national touring and local art exhibits for the enrichment of the community. Most exhibits take place in the Community Room at YDL-Whittaker, but exhibits are also shown at YDL-Michigan. Contact John Connaghan if you are interested in having your art considered for an exhibit at YDL.

View our Facilities Usage Policy (which includes exhibit policies)»
View the Exhibit Agreement and Wavier Form (PDF)»

 

Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland

Jun. 15-Aug. 11, 2017

Adapted from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art’s flagship exhibition Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861–2008, this new traveling exhibition from NEH on the Road will explore America’s playground as a place and as an idea, examining its persistent presence in the American imagination. The exhibition is arranged chronologically, with each section titled after contemporary quotations that also communicate changing popular perceptions about Coney Island through the generations.

“Down at Coney Isle,” 1861–1894, looks at the resort’s beginnings as “New York’s sandy backyard,” a blend of genteel and popular attractions made accessible by ferry, tram, and steam railway. “The World’s Greatest Playground,” 1895–1929, examines the explosion of entertainment accessible to the masses in parks like Steeplechase, Dreamland, and Luna Park, themselves the settings for fantastic encounters and new technologies.

“The Nickel Empire,” 1930–1939, shows how, after the stock market crash of 1929, Coney Island provided a welcome and affordable diversion, where disorienting rides could spark romance between strangers in a setting where “the greatest show is the people themselves.” From the beginning, Coney Island drew crowds from all social classes, races, and ethnicities, and “A Coney Island of the Mind,” 1940–1961, inspects how Coney Island reflected American life during and after World War II, providing a refuge from the city streets and a setting for intimacy on its crowded beaches, yet also offering metaphors for life and death in amusements like the House of Horrors and the World in Wax Musée.

The final section, “Requiem for a Dream,” 1962–2008, traces Coney’s decline amid turbulent decades that saw urban disinvestment and renewal attempts, including the closing of its last twentieth-century amusement park, Astroland. Yet ultimately, Coney’s persistence and continued re-emergence continue to attract new visions and renewed crowds.

June 17, Noon-3pm, at all three YDL locations

Celebrate the Coney Island exhibit and launch the Summer Challenge with a fun-filled Coney Day at all three YDL locations. From carnival games to bounce houses, duck ponds to Detroit-style coney dogs, join us for a Coney-themed afternoon heralding the beginning of summer.

 

Past Exhibits

YDL has a long history of bringing world class exhibits to Ypsilanti. Learn about a few of our past exhibits »

Just In

July 2017 New & On Order DVD/Blu-ray
A listing of DVD's and Blu-ray added to the collection in June 2017
View in catalog