The Downtown Dayton Partnership (DDP), Miami Conservancy District (MCD), and Five Rivers MetroParks led the search for artists/designers to submit design ideas to be painted on the 953-foot-long, concrete floodwall on the north side of the Great Miami River as part of the RiverScape River Run project. The Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC) led the artist outreach process to successfully engage the local arts/design community. More than 80 submissions from throughout the country were submitted and reviewed by a design selection committee. The four finalists include designs by the following artists: Geoffrey Smith, Kettering, Ohio; Michael Anderson, Belleville, Illinois; Amy Deal, Oakwood, Ohio; and Christian Larson, Dayton, Ohio.
Images of the four finalists are below, or go online at www.downtowndayton.org for details. Community feedback is being collected through an online forum on Dayton.com through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, April 29. The design selection committee will review feedback and determine the winning design based on criteria outlined in project RFP.
Michael Anderson – Belleville, Illinois
This design, titled “The Spirit of Freedom,” is composed of a series of winged shapes over waves of color that mimic the flow of the Miami River. The shapes are an interpretation of the phrase “free as a bird” as well as the spirit of flight, appropriate because of Dayton’s association with aviation in America and as the home town of the Wright brothers. The shapes may also be seen as doves of peace, a reminder of the 1995 agreement negotiated at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and for which Dayton is known throughout the world.
Amy Deal – Oakwood, Ohio
My vision was to approach the project by including what is happening on and near the river, as well as showcasing that our river is healthy with an abundance of beautiful nature and wildlife. The bike/running/walking trails in Dayton are spectacular. The impending River Run Project is very exciting and will only enhance river activity. Also included is historical significance by symbolizing the Wright Brother’s Wright Flyer with graphic use of lines, which also represent bridges. The circles represent Dayton’s history with bicycles. Dayton is active with cycling, walking, running, rollerblading, canoeing, and kayaking to name a few. Dayton has opportunities for everyone.
Christian Larson – Dayton, Ohio
My design is a stylized depiction of a Great Blue Heron taking flight amid a flock of egrets and other river birds. The Great Blue Heron has always been one of my favorite birds to see along the river and their numbers are growing. I see the heron as a symbol of the region and the rivers in general, as well as being beautiful to look at. I chose a palate of two grays and a silver metallic for the herons. Dayton’s RiverScape and the downtown area have a large number of multicolored lights, many of which will illuminate the mural. I hope they capture the light in the reflective silver surfaces, giving the illusion that the birds are glowing.
Geoff Smith – Kettering, Ohio
The inspiration for this design came from my bicycle and kayak excursions throughout the Dayton and surrounding areas. I’m always intrigued by the different greens that roll over the fields like ribbons, interacting with the rivers, sky and clouds. To illustrate this, I used two greens and two blues in the shape of ribbons to symbolize the harmony of these natural surroundings.
Members of the design selection committee include: Chair, Bear Monita, Managing Partner, LWC Incorporated; Cathy Ponitz, CareSource; Julia Wallace, Market Vice President, Cox Media Group Ohio; Janet Bly, General Manager, Miami Conservancy District; Carrie Scarff, Deputy Director, Five Rivers MetroParks; Sandy Gudorf, President, Downtown Dayton Partnership; Shari Rethman, Dean, Liberal Arts, Communication and Social Sciences, Sinclair Community College; Judith Huacuja, Chair, Department of Art and Design, University of Dayton; Kristin Sobolik, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Wright State University; Alexis Larsen, External Affairs Director, Dayton Art Institute; Caroline Glynn and Erin Fox, University of Dayton River Stewards representatives; and James Pate, artist and art educator.
“The goal of the project is to commission a design that highlights or reveals something unique about the recreational, environmental or aesthetic beauty of the river,” said Bear Monita, chair of the design selection committee. “We received excellent submissions and are excited to share the finalists with the community to get their feedback before we select the winning design.”
The River Run mural project is made possible through the support of the CareSource Foundation, The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and Cox Media Group Ohio. Visit www.downtowndayton.org for more information.