2023 ‘Dayton Skyscrapers’ exhibit to open this month at EbonNia Gallery

The 2023 edition of the long-running exhibit series “Visual Voices: Dayton Skyscrapers” is slated May 21-Sept. 30 at the EbonNia Gallery in the historic Wright Dunbar district.

Conceived in 2007 and spearheaded by Willis “Bing” Davis, “Dayton Skyscrapers” is a part of the Dayton Public Schools Skyscraper art project, a collaboration between Dayton Public Schools, Shango: Center for the Study of African American Art and Culture, and EbonNia Gallery.

“Our Skyscrapers are about high achieving African Americans from the Dayton Miami Valley region who have achieved in their chosen field and has or is giving back to the community,” stated organizers in a press release.

The skyscraper art project is designed to identify and celebrate high achieving local and regional African Americans who have achieved highly in their field, provide positive role models for urban youth, celebrate local and regional African American artists, and enhance the general community’s appreciation of African American contributions to the Dayton Miami Valley region.

“This is one of the best years we’ve had for ‘Dayton Skyscrapers,’” said Davis. “The artists are getting better and better. We think it’ll be one of our top exhibits because of the people we’ve identified to celebrate.”

The 2023 Skyscrapers include Joyce Beatty, Willis Blackshear Jr., Debbie Blunden-Diggs and Keith Byars.

“So many outstanding people from our area are going to be celebrated this year,” added Davis. “We’re very pleased.”

“Dayton Skyscrapers” is also deemed as “an innovative and unique art, culture and educational project that has unlimited potential and possibilities for replication in other urban and rural educational systems across the U.S.” Every school within Dayton Public Schools will receive and display these original art works of African American visual artists as an integral part of the learning environment.

“All of the artwork will eventually (be) in the Dayton Public Schools,” said Davis. “We’re really pleased that these great high achievers will be forever seen in our schools as motivation for our young people.”

This year’s exhibiting artists are: Abner Cope, Andrea Walker-Cummings, Clifford Darrett, Craig Screven, Dwayne Daniel, Erin Smith-Glenn, Gregg DeGroat, Horace Dozier, Sr., James Pate, Morris Howard, Reginald Harmon, and Yvette Walker-Dalton.

In addition to Davis as curator and project director, the Project Team includes assistant coordinator Audrey Davis, coordinator Rosalyn Green, exhibit designer James Pate, and photographer Horace Dozier.

An Artists Reception will be held Sunday, June 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, call 937-223-2290. The EbonNia Gallery is located at 1135 W. Third St., Dayton.

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