Art Students Meet Bing Davis at Studio

Ceramics students received a lesson from local art legend Willis "Bing" Davis during visits to his West Third Street studio this October.

The field trips gave students a “behind-the-scenes look” at the life and work of one of Dayton’s most acclaimed professional artists said Will Bonner, a senior taking first period ceramics with Mrs. Janet Lasley. Davis is renowned for his interpretation of African culture through paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture and pottery.

“It was interesting to see his thinking and how he got inspired on certain types of pieces,” Bonner said. The senior plans to enter college as an engineering major, but is considering adding a minor in an art-related field, and said hearing Bing’s story was personally inspiring.

Originally from South Carolina, Davis grew up in Dayton and graduated from Wilbur Wright High School where he was a standout athlete. He attended Depauw University where he starred in basketball and track (eventually being elected to the school's athletic hall of fame), but never gave up on his passion for art. Davis pursued multiple bachelor and graduate degrees in the field after college, and has enjoyed a long and celebrated career as an artist, curator, teacher and professor.

“In 1976, as a high school art teacher, I stopped teaching art and began teaching people,” Davis is quoted as saying on his Web site, He has served as an educator in Dayton Public Schools as well as at Depauw, Miami University (Oxford) and Central State University.

“It doesn’t matter whether students intend to major in art or not. I see the classroom as an opportunity not only to develop artistic talents, but to enhance students’ sense of self-worth and to learn how to see themselves,” said Davis, according to the site.

During the group's field trips, Bing spoke about his work and showed students techniques. Conversely, Mrs. Lasley challenged students to draw and reflect on three studio pieces in their sketchbooks.

CJ Art, Writing On Display November 2

On Friday, Nov. 2, work by CJ art and creative writing students along with roughly 400 other area youth was displayed as part of a community exhibit and parade in recognition of the Mexican tradition known as el Día de los Muertos, or “The Day of the Dead.”

Dayton’s first-annual Day of the Dead Community Ofrenda (or “altar”) was spearheaded by Cityfolk’s Culture Builds Community program and meant as a celebration of the city’s diverse population. The evening began with a family-friendly parade east down Fifth Street through the Oregon District, finishing at the Missing Peace Art Space gallery at 234 S. Dutoit St.

The parade included, life-sized skeleton puppets, a rolling musical sculpture, parade lanterns, innovative musical instruments, costumes, written work and paintings. Afterward, the party continued at the gallery with a Reception Performance and a showcase of student artwork. The "community altar" will continue to be on display inside Missing Peace Art Space through November.

In Mexico, el Día de los Muertos welcomes the souls of loved ones, who return each year on November 1 and 2 (All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day) to enjoy a few hours of the pleasures they once knew in life.

Participants included CJ students in class with Mr. Jim Brooks, English teacher, and Mrs. Diana Barr, art teacher, as well as youth from the Hispanic Catholic Teen Group at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, East End Community Services, Stivers School for the Arts and St. Albert’s School.