Downtown mural inspired by Dayton poet is a message to the community

A new mural in downtown Dayton celebrates the city’s welcoming and inclusive spirit.

The public art piece was designed by Dayton artist Amy Deal and inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “The Dove.”

Looking for design inspiration last year, Deal researched Dayton history and Dunbar, one of the first internationally known African-American writers who was born in Dayton, when she came across these lines in his poem.

‘A song fluttered down in the form of a dove,

And it bore me a message, the one word – Love!’

“I just fell in love with it,” Deal said. “I just sat and fiddled and sketched and that’s where I arrived.”

The mural, located on the north wall of the Stage Door, 44 N. Jefferson St., is made up of overlapping doves painted in shades of orange, yellow, mossy green and purple. Together, they subtly form the shape of a heart.

“I love tone on tone,” Deal said. “For this mural, I wanted to excite all ages and so I used a broad color palette to appeal to a wider audience.”

The word LOVE is set off in white and surrounded by the doves, a symbol of peace and a tribute to the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords.

The public art piece was made possible through the Urban Art Intersections mural program, a partnership between the Downtown Dayton Partnership, The Contemporary Dayton and K-12 Gallery & TEJAS.

The program’s goal to make downtown Dayton more vibrant has produced murals throughout the city including the “Red Lady” on the Oregon District garage on Fifth Street, a whimsical tree house near Clash Dayton in the Oregon District and a tipped bucket pouring a rainbow of paint on North Jefferson Street.

Deal said she wants the latest mural to be a message to the city. “Dayton is so amazing and so inclusive,” she said. “It was really easy to design knowing the attitudes of the community.”

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