You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Bing Davis commissioned for 10th anniversary mural

A day after he was asked to create a piece of commemorative artwork for the Schuster Center, Willis “Bing” Davis was already hard at work.

The stipulation was that the piece be large enough to be seen from all three lobbies of the Wintergarden and that it be “vibrant.”

The striking contemporary mural — Schuster Spirit Dance — has been eight months in the making and will be unveiled at the Gala Concert on March 1.

One of the Miami Valley’s best-known personalities, Davis has been a visual artist, teacher and community activist for more than three decades and seeks to meld his own cultural heritage with contemporary art techniques. His work was on display at the Dayton Art Institute in November 2010 in an exhibit entitled “Marking the Past/Shaping the Present: The Art of Willis “Bing” Davis.” At the same time, the University of Dayton displayed Davis’ photographs, masks and ceramics.

Davis said the new commission is part of his Ancestral Spirit Dance series that came out a trip to Africa in 1973.

“It’s influenced by African textiles, African-American quilts and black music,” he explains. “These pieces are a visual prayer of thanks for those on whose shoulders I stand.”

The new 30-foot-by-5-foot work — the largest Davis has ever created — is a tribute to Benjamin and Marian Schuster, whose $8 million gift helped ensure the 2,300-seat theater would be a world-class venue with state-of-the-art acoustics and technical capabilities. It will be the first permanent piece of art in the venue.

“It’s quite an honor,” he said.

Davis said his inspiration also came from the building itself — the environment in which the piece will hang. Crafted of oil pastels on museum ragboard, the mural reflects the warm hues of the Wintergarden’s wood and carpeting. The zig-zags in the design reference the Schuster staircase.

The piece is being created in nine sections on a 30-foot long table in Davis’ studio on West Third Street. It will be transported to downtown Dayton in mid-February and then assembled in its new location.

Ken Neufeld, president and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association, said Davis has a strong relationship with the organization through the Visual Voices program and was an obvious choice for the commission.

Davis serves as the curator for the annual Visual Voices art exhibit that celebrates Black History Month by showcasing local African-American artists and a variety of art forms.

“There is a vibrancy and joy in the piece that reflects the power the arts have on our community,” Neufeld said when making the announcement.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Springfield Entertainment

Report: Lady Gaga can't talk Trump, may perform Super Bowl Halftime Show from roof
Report: Lady Gaga can't talk Trump, may perform Super Bowl Halftime Show from roof

Pop star Lady Gaga is weeks away from headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show, but one report says she won't be able to talk about the election or President-elect Donald Trump, who will be inaugurated as president by the time of the show. According to Entertainment Tonight, citing an unnamed source, Gaga will not be allowed to talk about politics,...
SSO’s Grapes & Escapes gets a ‘Clue’
SSO’s Grapes & Escapes gets a ‘Clue’

Contact this contributing writer at No dinner plans for Saturday, Feb. 4? The Springfield Symphony Orchestra will gladly offer a “Clue.” The annual Grapes & Escapes fundraiser turns to colorful characters and daring detectives for its 2017 theme with a beloved board game as its inspiration — “Clue: The...
Burt Reynolds to auction replica 'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans-Am
Burt Reynolds to auction replica 'Smokey and the Bandit' Trans-Am

Remember the iconic muscle car driven by Burt Reynolds in the kitchy yet classic 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit? Who wouldn't want to own a Trans-Am just like it? Bidders will get their chance Friday at an auction in Arizona, MSN Autos reports.  A listing for the Barrett-Jackson sale in Scottsdale shows a Pro-Touring Firebird...
Report: Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concert
Report: Jennifer Holliday pulls out of Trump inauguration concert

Holliday retweeted The Wrap's report on her Twitter account.In a letter addressed to "my beloved LGBT community," Holliday explained why she initially accepted the invitation to perform at the inauguration, saying she wanted to perform for the people, not for Trump. But after a vocal backlash, Holliday has decided not to perform.  According...
Children remember your words for the rest of their lives

“Parentspeak - What’s Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children — and What to Say Instead” by Jennifer Lehr (Workman, 276 pages, $14.95) We’ve all seen it. And heard it. In public places, watching parents interact with their children, what’s being said and done. Heck, maybe they were your own kids and you are evaluating...
More Stories