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Art Education Explores 'Pedagogy & Practice' of "Bing" Davis '59

September 5, 2011

87401September 5, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — "Willis 'Bing' Davis believes that art is the best way to express the joy of being alive," begins an eight-page exploration of the 1959 DePauw University graduate and his work, published in the new edition of Art Education. "Working in a prolific and diverse range of media including drawing, ceramics, mixed media sculpture, and photography, Davis' artworks demonstrate a soulful connection to his community, culture, and environment. Not only do his works reflect his own personal life experience, he also draws from cultural heritage to celebrate the many people and places that have helped influence and shape his own identity as an artist and educator."

The essay by Mandy Hansen, Tara Kennedy, Amy Nack and Amber Powers notes, "Davis has participated in more than 60 solo exhibitions. His work has been exhibited in the U.S., Canada, Japan, France, Germany, and in several central and west African countries. He has traveled extensively in Africa, visiting the continent ten times between 1973-1994 and spending time in Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon. Davis strives to connect with people through the medium of art, and portrays a social consciousness that 87402may help others engage with their communities. He assembles the many parts of his cultural heritage from his own personal experience, his local community, his surroundings, his ancestors, and from rituals that are part of his cultural past. Davis uses this heritage to express his own evolving identity. Davis is intent on helping others to find their own connections through his work, whether it is awareness of the issues facing a local community or an idea of belonging in a larger cultural group. He uses a variety of easily recognizable found objects to demystify the process of art creation." (at right: Davis' painting, Ancestral Spirit Dance #382)

The piece notes that Davis became an educator after graduating from DePauw, and taught at both the high school and college levels, including DePauw, Miami and Central State universities. Davis has stated, "In 1976, as a high school art teacher, I stopped teaching art and began teaching people ... I see the classroom as an opportunity not only to develop artistic talents, but to enhance students' sense of self-worth and to learn how to see themselves."

"Pedagogy & Practice: The Art of Willis 'Bing' Davis" is published in the September issue of Art Education, the official journal of the National Art Education Association. Learn more at the organization's website.

Learn more about Bing Davis in this previous article.

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