DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – While thousands of people crowded the intersection of Fifth Street and Wayne Avenue for Dave Chappelle’s Oregon District benefit concert, the community was also invited to participate in a community project.
Spearheaded by the The Mosaic Institute and Contemporary of Dayton, the mosaic was made up of hand-cut porcelain tiles. At Gem City Shine, members of the public were allowed to take a tile and write a message or prayer.
“It has been a humbling and even spiritual experience,” said Jes McMillan, founder at the Mosaic Institute.
McMillan said the city called on them to guide a community art project at Gem City Shine.
The piece features nine doves, inspired by the doves released at a vigil in the Oregon District and they represent the nine victims of the shooting. Hands featured at the base of the piece represent the community.
A similar project would usually take three to four weeks to design but this project was designed in four days leading up to Gem City Shine.
“We wanted the doves to be finished so the community could touch them and really connect with them,” McMillan said.
“It also signifies how we are releasing our feelings and prayers,” McMillan said. “We put a lot of positive energy and love into this piece to get it ready.”
The hope is for the mosaic to be installed on the sidewalk in the Oregon District.
“The victim’s children can come to the site in 50 years and touch these doves and connect with what happened here,” McMillan said.
McMillan said the best part is Daytonians themselves are putting the pieces together.
“It is a physical representation of the community coming together in love and healing to signify our hope,” McMillan said.
The mosaic is not finished yet and will require more help from the public. If you want to help complete the mosaic, you can head to Contemporary of Dayton for First Friday on September 6. There the mosaic and tiles will be out from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for the community to write their own prayers or messages to be part of the piece for years to come.
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