Sometimes a bridge must be built when two sisters have lost touch.
Amanda Grieve, the gallery director for Dayton Society of Artists, says that applies even when the sisters in question are cities.
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The Dayton Society of Artists teamed up with the Dayton Sister City Committee to bring Patrick Gono to Dayton as its first artist-in-residence from Monrovia, Liberia.
Under the leadership of Monrovia subcommittee chair Thomas Siafa Sr., a Liberian native, the committee is working to re-establish its relationship with Monrovia, Dayton’s sister city since 1972.
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“It’s starting to foster that relationship again. That person-to-person contact is so vital,” Grieve said. “It is beginning that bridge building between Dayton and Monrovia.”
The capital city of the West African country is one of five Dayton sister cities.
The others are Augsburg, Germany; Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Rushmoor, United Kingdom; Holon, Israel; and Oiso, Japan.
The Dayton Sister City Committee will celebrate its 50th anniversary with Oiso during a special festival from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3. at the Levitt Pavilion at Dave Hall Plaza in downtown Dayton.
The festival will precede Dayton funk legend Keith Harrison’s free concert in the venue beginning at 7 p.m.
This reporter is a member of the Dayton Sister City Committee. Grieve is a “friend” of the city of Dayton supported committee, which is chaired by her husband Arch Grieve.
During his nearly month-long stay in Dayton that started July 5, Gono — a self-taught painter — toured local and regional attractions, met local artists and created works in a space donated by the Front Street Building Co.
Gono’s visit was funded by the Dayton Sister City Committee, Dayton Society of Artists and donations, Amanda Grieve said.
“Really, the Dayton community came in full force as well and supported the program,” she said.
Gono told this news organization that the brightly colored mural painted on the back of door B of the Front Street building located at 1001 Front St. was inspired by his visit to Sun Watch Village in Dayton.
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The mural features a Native American woman in a headdress and a Monrovian woman in a headdress.
Gono said he used red, white and blue in the piece because they are the colors of both the United States flag and the Liberian flag.
He plans to copy the mural on a wall in Monrovia.
“I want to have the same mural in Monrovia,” Gono said. “It is meant to be a connection to bridge the two cities.”