Dayton artists selected for 8/4 Oregon District Memorial

last updated 11/06/2023
Dayton artists selected for 8/4 Oregon District Memorial

The 8-4 Memorial Committee has announced the selection of the team that will create a memorial in the Oregon District in honor of the tragic events that occurred on August 4, 2019.

Local Artists Selected for 8-4 Memorial in Oregon District

Local Artists Selected for 8-4 Memorial in Oregon District

Plans for the memorial honoring the 2019 Oregon District Mass Shooting victims have been unveiled by the  8-4 Memorial Committee.  The design of the memorial will be called "The Seed of Life", and will be located in the plaza next to the Trolley Stop. 

“This memorial will be an important step in the healing process as we remember those who were lost and grieve with those who were affected by this tragedy in the heart of our community,” said Sandy Hunt, Memorial Co-Chair. 

The selected team includes Terry Welker, FAIA: architect/sculptor, team leader; Sierra Leone: poet, educator, community builder; Jes McMillan: artist, community builder, The Mosaic Institute; and James Pate: artist, designer, community builder. 

Rendering - Oregon District 8/4 Memorial

Above: The Seed of Life, 2024 (artist’s rendering) a public art memorial and contemplative space designed to remember the nine victims, first responders, families, and all those affected by the violence of the August 4, 2019 Oregon District shooting

POEM - Poet Sierra Leone will write a series of poems dedicated to the victims, first responders, and survivors of the incident. Leone will interview community members to listen as they share how they were affected by the incident and what remembrance and healing means to them. The poem will blossom from a combination of what she hears and her own experiences and impressions of our community. Phrases and words from the poems will be embedded in the mosaic and bench designs.  

MOSAIC - Artist Jes McMillan will create the primary design element of the memorial, a large Mosaic. Connecting the existing concrete and brick ground, the curved bench and planter, and the sidewalk edge of the Plaza, the Mosaic will feature a radial geometry centering on a symbolic shape: a seed.  Created with light blue and green chips of treated porcelain and put in place by volunteers, the Mosaic will also be outlined by embedded stainless steel “bands.” 

SCULPTURE - Artists Terry Welker and James Pate will create a grouping of nine, 7-9’ tall petal or leaf forms in stainless steel. The nine forms, signifying the nine victims, may be seen as emerging from the “seeds” centered in the Mosaic; and form the backdrop of the geometry of the site. 

BENCH - Using the existing concrete wall, the team will add a backrest to create a 36-foot-wide curved, comfortable seating area. The backrest will include components of the Mosaic and the Poem and the bench itself will be clad with a teak seating surface. 

PLANTINGS - The team will add Blue Fescue Grass as ground cover in the existing plant bed and in a recessed planter on the edge of the design to further ensconce the space. 

“The Seed of Life team of artists is honored and excited to begin working with the entire Dayton community on this significant 8-4 Memorial project. Our unique, collaborative, visionary process allows us to create a shared, memorable place of healing. Here, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and everyone has the opportunity to literally use their own hands to help make it happen,” said Terry Welker. 

“We are so appreciative of everyone in the community who contributed their feedback, participated in our outreach opportunities, and supported this process along the way,” said Sandy Gudorf, Memorial Co-Chair. “Sandy Hunt and I want to thank the 8-4 Memorial committee members and art jurors who volunteered their time. This has truly been a collaborative process and we are thrilled with team of artists that were selected.”

The team has a budget of $200,000 for the completion of the memorial, which is expected to be completed by August 4, 2024.

Funding for the 8-4 Memorial is possible thanks to the support from the CareSource Foundation, City of Dayton, Conor Group Kids & Community Partners, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Kettering Health Network, Montgomery County, Premier Health, Sinclair College, University of Dayton, and donations from the Gem City Shine hosted by Dave Chappelle. 

Donations are being accepted for ongoing maintenance and other related expenses here.

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