Visual Voices

VISUAL VOICES 2019: DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT was at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Visual Voices 2019

Each year, Victoria Theatre Association partners with Shango: Center for the Study of African American Art and Culture, and Willis “Bing” Davis, exhibit curator and director of EbonNia Gallery, to display an exhibit of art by local African-American artists inside the Schuster Center.

2019 Dayton Skyscrapers – A Celebration Of Local African-American High Achievers, featured the work of African-American visual artists from the Miami Valley. These artists researched prominent African-American’s (living or deceased) who made a mark in their field and are role models for the community. 2019 exhibiting artists are: Abner Cope, Dwayne Daniel, Clifford Darrett, Willis Bing Davis, Horace Dozier, Al Harden, Kevin Harris, Morris Howard, James Pate, Debra Richardson-Wood, Craig Screven, Frances Turner, and Andrea Walker-Cummings.

The 2019 exhibit, at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, reflects the broad and diverse career fields of African-Americans in the Dayton and Miami Valley region. They are: Judge Arthur O. Fisher; Judge Gerald Parker; Judge Alice O. McCollum; Dr. Karen Townsend, small business woman; Edward Dugger, engineer; Phyllis Bolds, physicist; Colonel Alphonso Trimble, military; Dr. Clarence Walls, arts administrator; Lelia I. Frances, community activist; Dr. Helen Octavia Dickens, medical; Jewelia Higgins, community activist; Terrelia Ogletree, community service; and Marlon Shackelford, community activist.

The exhibit was at the Schuster Center until March 29, 2019; at DP&L Headquarters April 1-30, 2019; and at EbonNia Gallery May 1-June 30, 2019.

If your group would like a tour of the exhibit while it’s at the Schuster Center, please email visualvoices@victoriatheatre.com or call 937-228-7591, ext. 3032.

Full artist statements and details about all of these works will be available at the exhibit and in the Visual Voices 2019 Souvenir Program.

Abner Cope
The son of a shoeshine man who hoped his son would never have to fight, Fisher served in World War II as a bombardier-navigator with the legendary Tuskegee Airmen before becoming the first black to hold several major Dayton and Montgomery County posts. The desegregation of the U.S. armed forces can be partially attributed to the 477th Bombardment Group’s protest in the spring of 1945. There, Arthur O. Fisher, and the rest of the African-American 477th Bombardment Group, challenged the unlawful exclusion of blacks from the officers’ club, resulting in their arrests. The uprising immediately gained the attention of the War Department, NAACP, and lawmakers. In 1953, Arthur O. Fisher was the first black person to work in the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. Ten years later, he became the first black to be elected judge of the Dayton Municipal Court. By 1970, Attorney Fisher broke another barrier as the first black person to win election to Montgomery Cunty Common Pleas Court, presiding over the domestic relations division. Later, Judge Arthur O. Fisher became the first black judge of the county’s Juvenile Court.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Beacon Of Hope Dwayne DanielBEACON OF HOPE (DR. KAREN M. R. TOWNSEND)
Dwayne Daniel
Digital Painting
The digital painting, “BEACON OF HOPE,” portrays Dr. Karen M. R. Townsend as founder of About My Sisters, an organization with a mission “to empower one million women and girls!” The mission is achieved by way of the annual Sister To Sister Conference, which helps women to achieve “life balance” by assisting them in their true passions so they live their lives “on purpose.” The conference is a safe place for women, from professional CEOs to homeless, ages 18-80, mothers and daughters, professors and students, to come together and be empowered by way of honest confessions that highlight the common denominators of womanhood. The empowered women would then return to their respective communities with a healthier perspective and empower the women and girls whose lives they touch. Hence, one million women and girls have a path to becoming better versions of themselves.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Ed Dugger Jr Clifford DarrettEDWARD DUGGER, JR.
Clifford Darrett
Oil On Canvas
Edward Dugger, Jr., born November 30, 1919, was a Medford, Mass., native and came from a hard-working, successful family. His father, Lt. Col. Edward Dugger, Sr., was one of the first African-American men to achieve a rank so high in the military. An outstanding student in the Tufts University College of Engineering, and a member of Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society and Phi Beta Kappa, he excelled academically. A captain in the Air Force Reserve, he served as one of the military’s first black aeronautical engineers. He held the position of Chief of Information Processing at the Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for 33 years, where he played an important role in the formulation and testing of materials used in advanced air and space programs. The Dugger Memorial Auditorium on the base was named in his honor. He authored over 100 scientific papers, lecturing throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Willis “Bing” Davis
Photo Collage
Phyllis Gaynell Bolds was born the ninth of 10 children to Albert J. and Anna Y. Allen in Dayton. Mrs. Bolds’ academic excellence was evident throughout her school experiences, as reflected by her 1950 graduating class at Dunbar High School in the Dayton Public School system. She was the recipient of the first Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Debutante scholarship. Her excellence as a young scholar and scientist continued during her college days at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She was a member of the Scientific Honor Society, Beta Kappa Chi, the college Scholastic Honor Society, Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society, as well as the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She had an outstanding 30-year career as a physicist at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, including publishing over 30 technical documents and presentations, particularly in the area of one of her specializations — aircraft dynamics relative to shock and airplane vibration — where she gained an international reputation. She was a physicist in the radar branch of the electronics lab from 1955-1957. In 1957, she transferred to the Flight Dynamics Laboratory, assigned to work on one of the most outstanding projects of her career, one of the most important Air Force scientific achievements of the past half century: the design, the development, and deployment of the B-2 Stealth Bomber — “the invisible airplane.” This 15-year project involved over 40,000 scientists, scholars and experts in government, and 12,000 companies from over 48 states. They were responsible for developing over 900 new materials and manufacturing processes to build the number one bomber in the world.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Judge Alice O McCollum Horace DozierJUDGE ALICE O. MCCOLLUM
Horace Dozier
Digital Photograph/Collage
Alice O. McCollum’s journey to becoming one of Dayton’s most outstanding citizens began after moving east from Oklahoma City, Okla., to Durham, N.C. where she spent her formative years. She obtained a B.A. in mathematics in 1969 while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After graduating, Alice McCollum’s journey led her to enroll in a summer program sponsored by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), a national organization that was founded in 1968 to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school held at the University of Cincinnati Law School. As a result of her participation in this program, she became very interested in the American legal system and was encouraged to attend the UC law school; something she had never considered. Alice McCollum received her law degree from the University of Cincinnati, College of Law in 1972. After relocating to Dayton, Alice McCollum began her legal career as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Dayton. She later served as the director of the pre-law program at Wilberforce University. In 1977, she became an assistant professor of law and assistant director of clinical legal studies at the University of Dayton Law School. But with all this, her goal to become a judge would soon be realized in 1979 when she was appointed and subsequently elected as the first woman to serve on the Dayton Municipal Court bench where she served for 24 years.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Al Harden
Photographic Metal Print
Colonel Alphonso Trimble was born in 1963 in Dayton and graduated from Jefferson Township Senior High School in 1982. After enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, he was awarded a NROTC scholarship to Morehouse College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physics in 1990. After receiving his commission, he was assigned to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron Twelve in Iwakuni, Japan, where he deployed and supported multiple exercises and operations in the Pacific. I know firsthand of his dedication and selfless devotion preparing a group of young men for Marine Corps boot camp training. So, there was no surprise he was awarded the Meritorious Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for exemplary voluntary service to the Department of Defense School System, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Programs and the National Naval Officers Association, and to those whose lives he touched through selfless, dedicated service. Giving freely of his personal time, he assisted these organizations in several diverse ways, including presentations, education, operational assistance and necessary fund raising. His demonstrated dedication and sincere interest in the welfare of others is the mark of a true humanitarian.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Kevin Harris
Digital Image
Dr. Clarence Walls has an enduring record of leadership and service dedicated to enriching and empowering others through music. Dr. Walls is a Dayton music educator, administrator and arts advocate. He was born and reared in Washington, D.C., and began developing his leaderships skills while serving as a teenager in the ROTC. His talents earned him a music and academic scholarship to Central State College where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1964. Upon graduation, he began his teaching career in the Dayton Public Schools as the band director at Roosevelt High School. In 1967 he received a master’s degree in woodwind pedagogy from the Ohio State University then returned to Dayton Public Schools to become the music director of the nationally acclaimed Dayton Living Arts program. In 1971, Dr. Walls received a Ford Foundation Fellowship, became a Ford Fellow in the Ohio State University Doctoral Program and was awarded a Ph.D. in music education in 1973. As a result of his outstanding accomplishments as an instrumentalist, conductor and teacher in the Dayton Public Schools, Dr. Walls, in 1975, was recruited by Sinclair Community College to help develop a music degree program. Among his major contributions to Sinclair and to the Dayton community, Dr. Walls developed a college community band program of over 130 greater Dayton musicians. He also developed a guest artist series that brought outstanding professional composers, soloists, and conductors to the campus to perform with the community ensemble and to provide master classes for Sinclair and other area university and high school students. Dr. Clarence Walls is not just a skyscraper. His impact as an educator, his commitment to excellence and his dedication to service shows he is a builder of skyscrapers.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Judge Gerald Parker Morris HowardJUDGE GERALD PARKER
Morris Howard
Oil On Linen
Judge Gerald Parker was born April 1, 1982. His hometown is Cincinnati, where he attended Lakota West High School in West Chester Township. Magistrate Gerald Parker is a 2004 graduate of Georgetown College, in Georgetown, Ky., receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English and a minor in business administration. While at Georgetown College, Magistrate Parker excelled in academics and athletics serving as captain of a NAIA Division II National Championship football team in 2001. Magistrate Parker attended Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law. After graduating law school, he became an assistant prosecuting attorney in Montgomery County, beginning in Child Protective Services and was quickly promoted to the Criminal Division, prosecuting hundreds of adult felony cases. During his time with the prosecutor’s office, he volunteered as a mentor, often bringing local youths interested in the law to observe court sessions along with him. In 2016, Magistrate Parker was appointed to the bench by the late Judge Nick Kuntz and Judge Anthony Capizzi where he presided primarily over juvenile delinquency and traffic matters, along with child dependency cases. He has collaborated with Parity, Incorporated and Montgomery County Common Pleas’ “Court Camp” for students and was nominated one of the Top Ten African-American Males of Dayton for 2018. In November 2018, Magistrate Parker was elected to the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Magistrate Parker is the creator of an after-school “CrossFit” program for at-risk youth where court-involved juveniles are brought to Centerville CrossFit for intense workouts, learning life skills while building self-esteem, discipline and character. He has raised thousands of dollars for Building Bridges, Incorporated, a private partner with the Juvenile Court and frequently speaks to students at various schools in the Miami Valley.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

James Pate
Marlon “Shack” Shackelford is a social activist, educator, and cultural facilitator. He leads and walks in the spirit of peace and empowerment. Shack’s love and care for nurturing youth and young adults throughout the community make him a Dayton Skyscraper and a builder of other Dayton Skyscrapers. Born February 25, 1962, Marlon grew up in Dayton, Ohio, but as a military brat he lived in many other cities in the US, including New York, N.Y., Tacoma, Wash., and Pittsburgh, Pa., as well as internationally in Germany, China, and Japan. He is a 1981 graduate of Dayton’s Fairview High School. For over 35 years Marlon has been focused on striking positive notes for the holistic health of young people in this country and beyond. One of Shack’s primary objectives is to help assist elementary, middle, and high school students with overall character development to stock the village with productive citizens. He is among the nation’s top violence-prevention specialists and speaks to young audiences throughout the country about self-esteem and the value of healthy choices. With his charismatic leadership and creative attitude, Marlon is responsible for launching some of the most recognized, meaningful, and effective spaces and platforms for students to thrive and flourish. In 2018, Marlon Shackelford was named the Cultural Awareness Award recipient for the 33rd Annual Ohio Department of Administrative Services Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Celebration. He received this honor for working for over 35 years to combat homelessness, substance abuse, crime, violence, and employment and educational deficits among young people.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Lelia Francis Debra Richardson WoodsLELIA I. FRANCIS
Debra Richardson-Wood
Charcoal Drawing
Lelia I. Francis was born in Salt Lick, Ky. A graduate of Kentucky State University, Mrs. Francis taught in rural schools in Kentucky before moving to Ohio. She and her husband, Charles Francis, moved to Dayton in 1943. In 1947, she became the first African-American Realtor in Ohio and the second in the United States. She was a real estate broker for more than 50 years. During that time, she helped establish the Unity Bank, and an African-American mortgage company. As an activist, she was one of the marchers arrested in 1967 while protesting to get more African-Americans hired in downtown stores. In Dayton’s African American Heritage by Margaret E. Peters, Mrs. Francis is depicted in the 1950s leaving her office at 507 South Summit Street. My charcoal drawing is taken from the photo in Ms. Peters book. Mrs. Francis is the focal point, but she stands in front of a door representing the entry to her office and the door of opportunity she helped open for Blacks to all areas of the city of Dayton.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Helen Octavia Dickens Craig ScrevenWOMEN’S HEALTH: HELEN OCTAVIA DICKENS
Craig Screven
Digital Image
Helen Octavia Dickens was born to Charles and Daisy Jane Dickens on February 21, 1909, in Dayton. She attended integrated elementary and secondary schools, deciding to pursue a career in medicine at the age of 12. She graduated from Roosevelt High School and then attended Crane Junior College, Chicago, Ill. Dickens received a B.S. at the University of Illinois in 1932, followed by an M.D. from the University of Illinois School of Medicine in 1934. The only African-American woman in her graduating class, Dickens next completed a 2-year residency in obstetrics at Provident Hospital in Chicago. She then moved to Philadelphia. She worked with the birthing practice of Dr. Alexander for seven years. In 1942, Dickens returned to school. She earned a master’s degree in medical science with a focus on obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Medicine. She passed the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology board examinations. She was the first African-American woman to hold the certification in Philadelphia. She established an obstetrics and gynecology practice. She worked extensively on women’s health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on the lives of young women, low-income women, and women of color. Dickens became director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Mercy Douglass Hospital in Philadelphia. In 1951, she joined the staff of the Women’s Hospital, serving as chief of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology from 1956 to 1964. Dickens held faculty positions at both the Medical College of Pennsylvania and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 1967, she founded a teen clinic aimed at aiding young mothers. She promoted early cancer screenings and prevention. Dickens served on the board of directors for numerous nonprofit organizations.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Frances Turner
Mixed Media
Terrelia Ogletree was born in Montgomery, Ala., and raised in Tuskegee, Ala.  She was educated in the Montgomery, Ala., public schools, Tuskegee Institute High School, and attended Talladega College, acquiring a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. There, she met her late husband, Don, who was studying medicine. After his graduation and residency, they headed to Dayton. Terri is known for her deep compassion for people, devoting much of her time in service to mankind. Her involvement in our local community is in numerous areas which are all people oriented. She demonstrates the unique ability to persevere and achieve through the many obstacles she has faced. During the ‘70s, she experienced a medical crisis causing her to lose one of her legs. Despite that, Terri continued with her many endeavors and seemed more involved than ever. Some of her local community involvement includes her ministry work at her local church, the Shiloh United Church of Christ in Harrison Township. She serves on the Church Growth Committee, the Front Porch Ministry; she’s active in Bible Study; serves in the Christmas Concert Choir and Summer Choir; and is a member of the Harrison Township Shiloh Church Community Outreach Committee. Terri is a charter member of Twentig, Inc., and for 24 years has been the narrator for the Opera Marionette Program for the Opera Guild. Terri created a legacy this year that will mark her 23rd year for organizing a three-day celebration of Black History Recognition.

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Andrea Walker-Cummings
Hand Embroidery & Applique
Jewelia Ann Galloway Higgins was born in Dayton, and throughout her adult life, was a civic leader and community activist. 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which “prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote based on sex,” thus giving women the right to vote. The amendment was subsequently ratified on August 18, 1920. Among her many activities and accomplishments, Jewelia Higgins was a suffragette. Jewelia’s name appears quite often in the meeting minutes of the Dayton Woman’s Suffragist Association (DWSA) from 1912 to 1914. Unlike many suffragist groups from across the country, the Dayton organization actively sought to work cooperatively with colored women, and new immigrants to the city. During my research, I visited with Mrs. Betty Jean Dugger Ferguson, age 95, granddaughter of Jewelia Higgins. She told me what she remembered of the activities above and added, “My mother told me about going to the booth with Grandmother on Mondays, and Grandmother spoke often of her work with the DWSA.”

Learn more about this artwork at the 2019 DAYTON SKYSCRAPERS EXHIBIT at the Schuster Center February 5-March 29, 2019.

Visual Voices 2018

As the city of Dayton joined the nation in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Visual Voices 2018: King/Dunbar Project was designed to celebrate the life and work of Dr. King through the literary voice of Dayton poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar. Artists featured in the exhibit included Abner Cope, Yvette Walker Dalton, Dwayne Daniel, Clifford Darrett, Derrick Davis, Willis “Bing” Davis, Horace Dozier, Lois Fortson-Kirk, Al Harden, Kevin Harris, Morris Howard, James Pate, and Craig Screven.

Visual Voices 2017

Dayton Skyscrapers 10th Anniversary celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Dayton Skyscrapers Art Exhibit project at the Schuster Center. Emerging to mid-career African-American visual artists from the Miami Valley researched prominent African-American’s (living or deceased) who have made a mark in their field and are role models for the community. The artists then wrote an essay about their life and work and featured the “skyscraper” in an original work of art that was displayed in a professional gallery exhibition. Artists featured in the exhibit included Abner Cope, Andrea Walker Cummings, Yvette Walker Dalton, Clifford Darrett, Dwayne Daniel, Willis “Bing” Davis, Lois Fortson, Kevin Harris, Morris Howard, James Pate, Craig Screven, and Frances Turner.

Visual Voices 2016

VISUAL VOICES 2016: BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER reflected the broad and diverse range of African-American life through the eyes of emerging and mid-career African-American visual artists from the Dayton and Miami Valley region. The 2016 exhibit featured the work of 16 local African-American visual artists and a recent Dayton Public School graduate. The exhibit provided opportunities for the Dayton and Miami Valley region to share, celebrate, and honor the importance of Black life. The BLACK LIFE as subject MATTER art exhibit was curated by Willis “Bing” Davis with assistance from fellow Dayton artists Dwayne Daniel, Derrick Davis, and James Pate and featured Francine Bankston, Andrea Walker-Cummings, Dwayne Daniel, Clifford Darrett, Derrick Davis, Willis “Bing” Davis, Al Harden, Kevin Harris, Morris Howard, Carolyn Moore, Robert Parkey III, James Pate, Craig Screven, Chris Turner, and Frances Turner.

Visual Voices 2015

Students from the Ponitz Career Technology Center (Dayton Public Schools) received specialized interview technique training and worked with the artists in that year’s Visual Voices 2015: Dayton Skyscrapers to record and edit interviews about their art. Hear their stories at soundcloud.com/victoriatheatre.

Visual Voices 2014

Featuring a concert with the Ohio Players, Visual Voices 2014: Visions Of Dayton Funk challenged artists challenged to create visual art that captures the essence and flavor of the Dayton funk sound. Students from the Ponitz Career Technology Center (Dayton Public Schools) trained with WYSO 91.3FM Community Voices radio project to record and edit interviews with the artists, musicians and others about the artists’ creative process and to provide a historical perspective on the Dayton funk movement. Hear their stories at soundcloud.com/victoriatheatre.