5 artist groups are semifinalists for Oregon District shooting memorial

Public will continue to have involvement; memorial will go in plaza next to Trolley Stop on East Fifth Street

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

As Dayton remembers the lives lost in the August 2019 Oregon District mass shooting, the community is one step closer to a public memorial for the event.

A committee that was established to help create that memorial for the victims has selected five semifinalists to produce proposals for a permanent piece of public artwork.

About 39 artists answered a request for qualifications as part of a national search for an artist or group to create a permanent memorial, according to an announcement Wednesday from The 8/4 Memorial Committee.

The committee has asked five artists and artistic teams to submit a design for a memorial by May 19. Each semifinalist will get $1,500 to help produce a proposal.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

The semifinalist groups are:

* James Dinh, based in Los Angeles; with Amy Deal and Landon Crowell based in Dayton;

* Terry Welker, Jes McMillan and Sierra Leone based in Dayton;

* Jon Barlow Hudson based in Yellow Springs;

* Stephen Canneto and Julie Spater, based in Columbus; with Mike Ruestchle and Tyler Rogan of Dayton;

* Shane Albritton and Norman Lee, of RE: site based in Houston, Texas.

On August 4, 2019, nine people were killed and more than a dozen wounded when Connor Betts, 24, opened fire in the middle of the Oregon District. Betts was shot and killed by police less than a minute later.

Killed in the shooting were Monica Brickhouse, 39; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Megan Betts, 22; Derrick Fudge, 57; Thomas McNichols, 25; Lois Oglesby, 27; Saheed Saleh, 38; Logan Turner, 30; and Beatrice Warren Curtis, 36.

The public art memorial will be installed in the plaza next to the Trolley Stop restaurant and bar at 530 E. Fifth St. Almost immediately after the shooting, Dayton residents, including people who were there that night, talked about the need to “reclaim” the public space on Fifth Street.

“The 8/4 Committee chose the location for this public memorial after hearing directly from our community,” said Sandra Gudorf, co-chair of the 8/4 Memorial. “The responses we received let us know that having a space on Fifth Street was incredibly important for this project. Members of our community wanted a central location where they could reflect, grieve, and heal.”

The committee said a panel of 13 jurors from the arts and community leadership reviewed the initial applications. Those jurors also will choose the winning artist or team to design the public artwork, with continued feedback from the 8/4 Committee, the general public and key stakeholders.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Eva Buttacavoli, executive director of the Contemporary Dayton, said, “Our jurors took a very close, thoughtful look at each of the 39 RFQs submitted for this project, and these artist teams had the highest qualifications measured by the the RFQ criteria.”

“We believe these teams will create impactful designs that will both memorialize the lives lost in the 8/4 event and inspire hope in our community,” Buttacavoli said.

When the artists’ proposals are submitted, the community will get a chance to see the designs and provide input about the project.

A final design is expected to be selected this summer. The winning artist or group will receive $200,000 to create the public artwork.

“The community has given us a lot of insight on this project so far, and it’s important that they’re included every step of the way,” Sandy Hunt, co-chair of the 8/4 Memorial Committee, said in a prepared statement. “This memorial is for everyone impacted by the 8/4 event, so we are grateful to see the community’s response as this process continues.”

Panel of jurors for 8/4 Memorial

• Linda Ashworth, COO, Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

• Dr. R. Darden Bradshaw, Professor of Art Education, University of Dayton

• Stefan Chinov, Artist, Professor of Art, Wright State University

• Edward Dixon, Owner, Edward A. Dixon Gallery

• Kevin J. Gray, President & Chief Content Officer, Westchester Education Services

• Sandy Gudorf, President, Downtown Dayton Partnership

• Kevin Harris, Professor of Printmaking, Sinclair Community College

• Holly Hornbeak, Planner, City of Dayton

• Sandy Hunt, Director of Victim/Witness Division, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office

• Shayna McConville, City of Kettering Cultural Arts Division Manager

• Bethany Ramsey, Owner, Puff Apothecary

• Matt Sauer, Architect, Matthew Sauer Architect LLC

• Natalie Skilliter, Managing Partner, Canary Consulting

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