Bing Davis' work has been displayed internationally, in countries like Senegal, Nigeria, Australia and Japan. Now, the trace of his national and global impact will be archived right here in his hometown.
The University of Dayton says this archive will make Davis’ papers accessible to artists, students and community members who want to engage with his work.
In a statement, UD President Eric F. Spina said this creates an opportunity for the community to engage with diverse legacies and voices.
“We are honored to keep Bing’s papers in the city where he spent most of his life and make them accessible to all who wish to understand or follow in his footsteps,” Spina said.
The University has previously hosted Davis as an artist-in-residence, exhibited his work and conferred on him an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts.
Davis says he hopes this archive will inspire anyone who wants to be involved in arts, education, and African-American culture.
“This provides an opportunity for me indirectly to continue to interact and work with youth,” Davis said. “How can we make use of all these documents and all these, especially all these projects that have just been fun and enjoyable for me over the years from 1960 to the present, but now formed to make it even more usable by the broader community.”
Over the years, Davis has supported research in Black art, including creating African and African American art history courses in regional institutions, including University of Dayton, Miami University, and Central State University.
Davis has also helped establish many art organizations, including the African American Visual Artists Guild, and the National Conference of Artists.
His studio in Dayton also hosts the Shango Center for the Study of African American Art and Culture.
The 85-year-old artist said that the archiving project is almost like planning another retirement.
“This is like a new existence for me,” Davis said. “ This is so amazing to see, and I'm excited about its potential.”
By Ngozi Cole
Ngozi Cole is the Business and Economics Reporter for WYSO. She graduated with honors from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York and is a 2022 Pulitzer Center Post-Graduate Reporting Fellow. Ngozi is from Freetown, Sierra Leone.
This article first appeared at WYSO.