Saturday, September 23, 2006

Painting a Piece of a Mural


This morning I met up with 6 other people from church to serve. The project this month was to paint a mural somewhere in Atlanta. No artistic talent was needed, they said. Well, since painting is one of my most favorite things to do, I knew I had to be a part of this project. Little did I know that it was going to be one of the most relaxing things I have done in a year!

Liz, Heather, and I met Oren, Jeremy, Michelle, and Lorann at Atlanta Union Mission. When we walked into the place, we saw about 50-75 people sitting at long tables and painting on small canvasses. Each canvas has part of a painting that is pre-drawn, and it's kind of like a paint-by-number piece of art. When all the small paintings are complete, they are hung together to make a large set of wall hangings, like the image above.

It's really amazing, actually. Atlanta Union Mission is just the center we painted at, and it's a great place itself, but the Foundation for Hospital Art is what we were painting these for. John Feight started the foundation several years ago by painting murals in Atlanta's Northside Hospital. He wanted to bring images of nature into hospitals to make them more welcoming and comfortable. He developed the foundation gradually, and today, thousands of volunteers all over the world help paint these murals. Each set of paintings (that comprise the whole mural) is shipped to different hospitals around the world. And it's based here in Atlanta! Every Saturday from 9-11 a.m., volunteers at Union Mission paint. Atlanta Union Mission is a Christian ministry that helps homeless and addicted men, women, and children get through their hard times. And in the hospitals, staff and sick children paint, too.

So there I sat today, painting for two hours, talking to Michelle and Lorann. We had fun laughing and listening to music and talking to new people. At first, my OCD got the better of me, and I was bothered by the mess-ups on my painting. See, every painting gets two coats. I was finishing the second coat on a previously painted canvas, and somebody definitely painted outside of the lines! But later I realized that a lot of the people at Union Mission were older and had drug problems. They didn't have steady hands. And sometimes handicapped or small children help, too. And they don't always have steady painting hands either. And so, through service, my eyes have been opened a bit more -- to people who are less fortunate than me and to people like John Feight, who want to make the world a little more bearable for those who are sick and dying.

I'm grateful to have the things I do. I'm grateful for the teachings of Jesus Christ, I'm grateful to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for being an organization through which I can apply those teachings, and I'm grateful for loving parents who've taught me correct principles to live by. I wish I didn't forget other people's perspectives as much as I do, but I'm glad I have opportunities to improve myself everyday. And I'm so glad I went to help paint today. It was a very pleasant and relaxing thing to do on a Saturday morning; if any of you can go some Saturday, do!

2 Comments:

Blogger Yvonne said...

Aw, that sounds like so much fun!! The hike was great, but it wore me out. Maybe that would have been the better idea for me. Maybe we should get a group together and do it again some time? I'd love to!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Lexia said...

I forget how relaxing it is to paint. One day I painted this cheap, plastic, window thingy that had an outline of a dinosaur on it. I had so much fun painting it (even though it was probably made for a five year old).

Can I be a part of this organization in New York?

11:55 AM  

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