Title: “Destiny Words”
2014 by Scott Freeman and Eric Holmlund
Acrylic on brick masonry. Approx 90′ x 20′
Additional artists: Sandy Beegle, Mollie Freeman, Aubrey Grieser, Margie Gray, Sabrina Peterson, Rene Prinsloo, Marcus Robinson
How the mural came to be:
In 2013, Aubrey Grieser of Love Your Community (LYC) and Jenny Hodge of Together for Hope were looking for ways to help revitalize Lake Providence, Louisiana. LYC founder John Rae told them about “The Values Project” by Peter Hassen, which debuted in California in 2011.
The Values Project is a public art project that connects communities by stenciling “value” words, like Integrity and Compassion in parking spaces throughout a city.
This gave Aubrey and Jenny the idea of creating values-oriented arts projects, and eventually led to the idea of creating a mural. After some preliminary scouting of possible locations, they found Reverend Michael Owens (New Hope Baptist Church), who owns the building at the corner of Highway 65 and Lake Street, a main gateway into the city. Reverend Michael readily agreed to the mural project. (Note: the mural is on private property and not government sponsored or affiliated)
Eric Holmlund, an artist from Resurrection Fellowship, came up with the crossword concept and mock-up design of the mural. In July 2013 he led a team mostly comprised of dance team members who made repairs to the wall, primed it, and began work on the crossword elements.
In November 2013, he returned with a group of deacons and pastors from the church who finished the lettering within the crossword puzzle. In April 2014, he brought a team of volunteer artists which included professional artists Scott Freeman and Mollie Freeman. Scott provided valuable artistic direction and leadership including the graphic design and final layout of the graphical elements.
By the grace of God (miraculous weather among other blessings), the team along with some local volunteers were able to complete the remainder of the mural in just six days.
Meaning and purpose of the mural:
The mural serves several purposes including beautifying downtown Lake Providence, encouraging its residents, welcoming visitors, and declaring positive attributes that are important to the community.
The following twelve value words are integrated with the name “Lake Providence”: Hope, Worth, Change, Love, Vision, Unity, Respect, Impact, Believe, Forgive, Courage, and Serve.
The images depict the natural beauty of the area, and the people of the community. While in the past Lake Providence was sometimes labeled by terms such as racial segregation, poverty, and economic inequality; the mural “calls out the gold” in the community by emphasizing its love, racial unity, and prosperity.
You may notice that the sky in the mural progresses from dark to light, originating with a “prophetic” blast of a trumpet and ending with the declaration: “We are History Makers”. The creators of the mural believe that God will speak through the words and artwork that you see on the wall. The overarching message is love, and it’s the love of Jesus Christ that inspired us to create it. The bottom line is that we (the artists and volunteers) love the people of Lake Providence and that’s why we created the mural for them.
Is the sun rising or setting? It all depends on which side of the lake you’re standing on. The sun is rising upon Lake Providence with hope and new life, while setting upon the darker parts of its history.
Elements of the mural:
Before any planning of the mural design began, Aubrey talked to many members of the community who provided input on potential subjects. The majority of the graphical elements of the mural came from that initial list. Additionally, the team of artists from Resurrection Fellowship collaborated to refine, tweak, and pare down the subjects into a composition that would be impactful, aesthetically pleasing, and feasible to paint on the brick wall.
|1) Jazz trumpet player|
|2) Prophetic blast of the trumpet|
|4) Pair of Mallard Ducks|
|5) Black and White hands forming a heart|
|6) Magnolias (Louisiana State Flower)|
8) Largemouth Bass
Lake Providence offers great opportunities for this hard-fighting game fish.
|9) Green Tree Frog (Louisiana State Amphibian)|
|10) Woman with Pecan Pie|
|11) Young Boy|
|12) Buck Deer|
13) Bald Cypress Trees
The cypress tree trunks are painted upon vertical pillars which are an architectural feature of the building.
15) Homecoming Queens
Inspired by Frededreia “DeDe” Willis and Lauren Frantom who rode on the 4th of July Parade float in 2013.
|18) Grain Elevator|
|21) Blues Guitar Player|
|22) Brown Pelican (Louisiana State Bird)|
23) “Unity bridge” across Lake Providence
Inspired in part by Frededreia Willis’ dream of building a bridge across the lake, as well as a vision that was given to one of the artists.
|24) Lake Providence (the lake)|
|25) Young Girl Fishing|
Educational exercises for children and other community members:
Special thanks to local historian Larry Brock for this great idea.
1) Count the animals and what they represent. (Pelican, catfish, bass, deer, frog, alligator, ducks, crawfish)
2) Which animals have you seen before?
3) Draw your own picture of one of these animals.
4) Count the people and what they represent. (fishing girl, blues guitar player, jazz trumpet player, homecoming queens, lady with a pie, young boy, plus the heart-hands)
5) Count the natural things on the mural. (Lake, sun, all the animals, 8 cypress tree trunks)
6) Count the man-made things on the mural. (Fishing pole, bridge, trumpet, church, flag, crowns & clothes, tractor, grain elevators, football, guitar, trumpet, pie pan)
7) Count the words on the mural. (12 value words in the crossword, plus “Lake Providence”, plus “We Are History Makers”)
8) How many words can you make up from the letters in “Lake Providence”?
For older children, teens, and adults:
1) Write an essay titled: “What the mural means to me”.
2) Write a letter to the local newspaper with your opinion about the mural.
3) What do the words on the mural mean to you?
4) Design a mural of your own.
Gallery of Pictures of the Creation of the Mural:
Feel free to leave your comments about the mural below.