The bridge that welcomes countless cars and pedestrians into the Oregon District will soon have a new, vibrant look.
Local artist Dave Scott has been hired by the Oregon District to breathe, or paint, life into the bridge on East Fifth Street, between Smokin-Bar-B-Que and Arby’s. The bridge project has been something the Oregon District Business Association (ODBA) has hoped for for nearly a decade, and it could be completed as soon as late October.
Scott and a handful of volunteers are already busy at work.
“It’s great to have such a vivid pillar to welcome people into the Oregon District to dine, to socialize as safe as we possibly can,” said Dana Graham, ODBA trustee. “I think it’s a pillar that (will) brighten up the district, brighten up downtown.”
A blueprint that shows what the completed mural will look like has been approved by the ODBA, but the association and Scott want to keep it a surprise, to allow for a big reveal later.
Graham did say the mural, on both sides of the bridge, will be colorful, full of vivid geometric shapes to show the importance of community and will pay homage to Dayton’s nickname as the Gem City.
“Those are the only three hints that I can give away, but it’s such a beautiful, just, statement piece that’s able to greet you in the Oregon — and it’s very bright, I can say that for sure," Graham said.
An important aspect of the district’s latest mural is to have a Black artist spearhead the project and bring along other artists in Dayton’s Black and Brown art community.
“I think that being an artist myself and being a Black woman, I think that it’s been time that artists in my culture and in my community are able to get these types of big projects and be able to get this kind of recognition that they deserve," Graham said. “This bridge-mural project is also a big step in that direction of understanding that the talent of Black and Brown artists is always going to be here in Dayton.”
The mural, Graham hopes, also serves as a source of hope to those who visit.
“So what I really hope Dave’s hard work and great design will do, is really bring hope to this area that has been affected, to our city that has been affected and like I said, younger Black and Brown artists to know that their city respects them, respects their work and honestly respects their narrative of what being a Black artist is,” Graham said.