On a Journey With Bing Davis

Aspirations Sponsors Inspirational Assembly and Art Project


Mr. Bing Davis talks to students after his presentation on October 30.

Taylor Harmon, Staff Writer

Willis “Bing” Davis, an artist and art educator for more than twenty years, visited Northmont High School on Thursday, October 30. During his visit, he talked about his journey from sports to art to community service. He stressed finding success in what you love to do, as well as helping others. The inspirational assembly was sponsored by the high school Aspirations group.

Davis grew up in a house with several siblings and a single mother that worked two jobs to keep her family fed and educated. Even with these struggles, she encouraged her children to do what they loved, and that anything was possible with enough hard work. For Davis, who was known by his classmates as an excellent athlete, that meant being an artist. From a young age, Bing knew that his true calling was in making art. To pursue this, he went to a different high school than his siblings where there was a better art program.

Davis became an art teacher in the Dayton Public School System, as well as at DePauw University, Miami University, and Central State University. Everywhere he went, students responded well to him. It was during his teaching career that he met Ms. Bethany Allen, a Northmont graduate and now art teacher.

“I was in college and I was looking for a place to volunteer,” said Allen. “I knew I wanted it to be in an art gallery. A friend of mine told me about Bing.”

While he was here, Davis talked with students and told them to follow their dreams. He made it clear that it wouldn’t always be easy, but that they could do anything they set their minds to. He also stressed the importance of helping others with any success they might find. Davis tries to bring success back to his community by encouraging people to achieve their goals, no matter how out of reach they seem.

“What I think they’ll take away is that you can, first of all, like he said, follow your dreams,” said Allen. “What I also think they can take away is that if you become very successful, you can bring that success back to your home community.”

Davis is also helping interested students create a permanent art piece for the new high school building. On Thursday, December 4, the group met to continue their work on the piece.

“Bing introduced the project (in October) and they started working on the project. They only had three hours that day,” said Allen. “So we have 30 kids working on the project, and we’re continuing that work.”

For the art piece, there are two 4-foot-by-16-foot panels being used. The first part of the piece has students working on tiles.

“In total, the project is 32-feet long and 4-feet wide, so it’s huge,” said Allen. “Each student is working on three tiles, and it will look like a quilt.”

Davis will come back in February to help the students with the second part of the piece.

“We will superimpose peace symbols around the world over those quilt pieces, so the peace symbols will be the image that really pops out at them,” said Allen.

Davis has offered immense encouragement to the students working on the project.

“He (Davis) has given us pointers on how to do the project, and has also been an inspiration to us, just by the way he’s going about this project,” said senior Cassie Boegel. “He’ll go around and look at everyone’s art and say ‘That’s amazing!’ He’s just being very supportive.”

The piece will give students a chance to be a part of the new school.

“It seemed interesting to be a part of the piece and get to leave my footprint on the new building, since I only get to be there for my senior year,” said junior Bethany Groves.

Students also have a chance to express themselves through art.

“I’ve always been into art, and I think it’s cool to see the different designs of what people are going to make,” said freshman Courtney Craft.

While bringing nearly 30 students from various grades together to work on the project, the finished masterpiece will let students spread the message of peace.

“The theme is a peace quilt, and I think that’s a good thing to have hanging in your school because when it’s about peace, then it’s about acceptance too,” said sophomore Anna Fox.

By telling his story and working on this art piece, Bing Davis is inspiring students to find success in what they do.