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Residents can build Oregon District shooting memorial through this series

A group of people sitting around a table with arts materials and partially constructed mosaic pieces.
Adriana Martinez-Smiley
People putting tiles into the mosaic portion of the memorial on Feb. 15

Dayton Metro Library is hosting a series of community events for residents to contribute to the 8/4 Oregon District shooting memorial.

Nearly every Thursday, people of all ages can come to the Main Library in downtown Dayton to place tiles in a mosaic.

It will become part of the Seed of Life memorialto remember the nine victims of the 2019 Oregon District mass shooting.

The Seed of Life memorial will consist of colored mosaic tiles placed in overlapping circles to form the seed of life — often referred to as a sacred geometric figure.

The artists behind the memorial will also work with students from Dayton area schools who will assist with other design elements.

Terry Welker is an artist, sculptor and the project lead for the Seed of Life memorial. He said putting your hands on the project is part of the community healing process.

“Certainly we could hire people to get all that stuff done, but that doesn't really help the community so much,” he said.

Riverside resident Michael McCarty is one volunteer who came out for a recent mosaic event at the library. He said the Oregon District shooting still affects people he knows, like his nephew.

“We lived in the area when it happened. So anybody who did is sort of connected to it,” McCarty said.

The next opportunity to work on the mosaic in the library will be Feb. 29 and will continue through the end of March, according to the The Mosaic Institute.This event will also feature a sound bath and meditation.

Welker said the collaborative aspect of the design is what makes the project what it is.

“If you want to participate, you can come to any of these events, whether you spend 15 minutes or 15 hours. Then you can say, ‘I helped with that,’ and that's what we want,” said Welker. “It'll be a big celebration when it's completed. But we also hope that it's an opportunity for those who participated to share that story with their children and their grandchildren and to remember the challenge of gun violence and how we overcome it.”

The artists anticipate installation will be complete by August. For more information, you can visit the 8/4 memorial website.

Adriana Martinez-Smiley (she/they) is the Environment and Indigenous Affairs Reporter for WYSO. They grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in June 2023. Before joining WYSO, her work has been featured in NHPR, WBEZ and WTTW.

Email: amartinez-smiley@wyso.org
Cell phone: 937-342-2905
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