Dunbar-inspired art exhibition connects poetry with art

Artistry and poetry intersect at the EbonNia Gallery in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District.

“In Praise of Dunbar: Yesterday and Today,” an exhibit showing at the gallery until April 28, features work from local and regional Black artists inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar and his poetry.

The pieces showcased in this collection, curated by Willis “Bing” Davis, “speaks not only to ‘yesterday’ but speaks also to the social concerns of ‘today,’” Davis said.

“The art of this team of visual voices artists helps the viewer to see Dunbar in a new light and perhaps gain a deeper understanding of today’s social concern,” he said.

Davis’s work is included in the exhibition alongside artists Abner Cope, Andrea Walker-Cummings, Clifford Darrett, Craig Screven, Derrick Davis, Dwayne Daniel, Erin Smith-Glenn, Gregg DeGroat, Greg Changa Freeman, Horace Dozier, Sr., James Pate, Kevin Harris, Morris Howard, Reginald Harmon, Ronald Duckett, Sr., Yvette Walker-Dalton and Lois Fortson Kirk.

Much of the art in the collection is inspired by or paired with a Dunbar poem. Cope’s “He Had His Dream” is an embodiment of the poem of the same name. “Sweet Songs of the Guardian Spirits” by Smith-Glenn is tied to Dunbar’s poem “Frederick Douglass.” DeGroate’s work is titled after Dunbar’s “A Poet And His Song.”

The exhibition at the gallery opened in February as the featured collection of Visual Voices, an annual cohort of African American artists. Scheduled to close March 31, the “In Praise of Dunbar: Yesterday and Today” exhibit was extended until the end of April.


What: “In Praise of Dunbar: Yesterday and Today” exhibition

When: Through April 28. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment.

Where: The EbonNia Gallery, 1135 W Third St., Dayton

More Information: Visit https://www.bingdavisartstudio.org/.

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