Inside a cramped Sunday school room at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Amery, an artwork monstrosity has been slowly taking shape—section by section, number by number.

With paint donated by Behr, brushes from Thrivent Financial, and a design by Paul Oman, community members young and old have been pitching in to complete possibly the largest paint-by-number that Northwest Wisconsin has ever seen. When it’s done, a mural 16 feet high by 20 feet wide will cover the front of Our Savior’s sanctuary, just in time for the Christmas season.

And what a gift it will be.

“There are people painting here from all churches, and all over the community,” says Paul. He likes to refer to the experimental project as the all-community mural. He says it was actually modeled after a similar project at Concordia College in Moorehead, Minn.

The mural is being worked on in four smaller, more manageable sections for the time being.

“We wanted it in a space where nobody could see the whole thing until it was up,” he says. 

Paul extended his talents to sketching and numbering the artwork, which included Biblical imagery of fish and loaves, the crucifixion, the empty tomb, the resurrection, and other recognizable depictions. Then he stepped back to let community members do the rest.

“I’m pretty much hands off once I set this up, and that’s by design,” he adds.

Paul is excited to begin assembling the mural, which will take place Monday, December 11. 

The community is invited for the mural’s big reveal on December 17 during the Our Savior’s children’s Christmas program. Worship is at 9 a.m. followed by the live nativity at 10:15 and children’s program at 11 a.m.

It will also be prominently displayed for the Church’s December 20 presentation of ‘Celebrate the Child,’ a Christmas drama featuring actor Jonathan Swensen of Paraphrase Theatre. The program begins at 7 p.m. and the public is welcome to enjoy the show as well as the mural masterpiece. Oman will include lighting effects that can only be seen in the evening and will make the mural come alive in a whole new way three-dimensional way, keeping it interesting for those seeing it more than once.

How long will it stay on display? Paul says maybe a few weeks, but it depends on what people say. 

“We’ll just put it out there and see where it goes.”

If received positively, he says the concept could return, or possibly evolve into other projects. Either way, catch this historic event while you can.

The all-community mural will be on display throughout the Christmas season at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church on Deronda Street in Amery.

 

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