Dayton Public Schools look to inspire students with “Skyscrapers” art installations

DAYTON — Dayton Public Schools (DPS) have announced the continuation of the Dayton Skyscraper Art Project. The initiative has local artists create pieces of artwork depicting Dayton-area “Skyscrapers,” those who stand tall because of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the Dayton area.

Individuals considered “Skyscrapers” and featured in the project include Olympic gold-medalist Edwin C. Moses, Charity Earley, the first African American woman to be an officer in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps; and Dayton’s first African American mayor James H. McGee.

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The Dayton Skyscraper Project began in 2006 and is led by local artist Willis “Bing” Davis.

The initiative brought it’s first installation into DPS in 2010, when artwork was installed at Dayton Boys Preparatory Academy, now known as Roosevelt Elementary. The installation made the school the first public school in the country with a contemporary African American art collection.

Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, DPS Superintendent, said the artwork gives students a better understanding of their community and inspires them to achieve great things on their own. The installation was also meant to show students a wider range of role models and possible career paths, as well as provide students with positive images of individuals who look like them.

The district anticipates having artwork installed in all 26 schools within the next two years. The completion of the initiative will make DPS the first school district in the country to have contemporary African American art collection in every school.