DAYTON – ThinkTV has announced the local PBS station is producing a documentary on Willis “Bing” Davis, an African American artist, educator, and community activist from Dayton, Ohio. The documentary will celebrate Davis’ contributions to both the arts and the community while promoting a strong appreciation for African American culture and history.
“Willis ‘Bing’ Davis represents the fabric of this community,” said Kitty Lensman, President and CEO of Public Media Connect, the regional partnership of CET in Cincinnati and ThinkTV in Dayton. “He is not only an incredible artist, but a person who has impacted this community and beyond in an uplifting and positive way. His life and his story needs to be told and we are honored to work with Bing on this documentary.”
Davis’ artwork is known for its incorporation of African and African American themes as well as its focus on social justice issues. He works in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, clay and found object art. His art often explores the intersection of race, identity and history while demonstrating power of community and collective action.
“As a fine artist, Willis ‘Bing’ Davis is a national treasure who often uses his artwork to explore contemporary issues we grapple with in society. As a lifelong Daytonian, Bing is a cherished member of our community, well-known as a teacher, mentor, and champion of social justice. Bing’s impact on Dayton is tangible and will be felt for many years to come. I’m beyond thrilled and humbled to be part of the team documenting Bing’s story, art making and legacy,” Lead Producer Ann Rotolante said.
In addition to his artistic pursuits, Davis is a dedicated community activist and educator. He founded the EbonNia Gallery in Dayton, Ohio, which showcases the work of many types of artists and serves as a community gathering place. Davis is looking forward to sharing his work with the community in a new way.
“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the creative team at ThinkTV to produce a documentary about growing up in Dayton as an African American male with interest and skills in sports,
art and culture. The Dayton Miami Valley community has nurtured and supported me as an athlete, artist and in community service,” he said.
Rodney Veal, host of The Art Show and the Rodney Veal’s Inspired By podcast, both produced by ThinkTV, is also working as a producer on the film.
“As a native Daytonian, I have admired the work and life of Bing Davis,” Veal said. “My first ever summer art camp was with Bing Davis and it left such impression on my life. He was the first African American artist I ever encountered and that interaction informed my life spent in the arts. This is such amazing way to pay homage to such an iconic man, activist and artist.“
The ThinkTV team is deep in pre-production and the full documentary is expected to premiere on air and online in May of 2024. It will also be made available to stream live during the broadcast as well as on demand on the PBS App and YouTube.