Florissant resident and artist Jeff Arnold says that when he picks up a paintbrush, his “faith fills the canvas.”
“It’s what every person hopes to do,” Arnold said in a press release. “If you’re an artist, you hope you can serve your God with your tools and talents.”
That’s just what happened this summer when Arnold created four original, life-size religious murals for in Florissant. The murals, which feature scenes from biblical stories, were unveiled Oct. 19 during a “dedication worship service.”
Attending the service were students and parents, as well as other congregation members and pastors from neighboring congregations. Arnold’s daughter, an eighth grader at Atonement, also attended.
“The kids really ‘oohed and ahed’ over them,” Mark Briggs, Atonement's Principal, said. “They were really impressed to see what they’ve been reading about in the Bible.”
Briggs said the paintings are “museum quality” and that they fill the walls of the school’s main hallway, which connects to Atonement’s new Ministry Center. The murals include images of several major stories from the Bible, including Adam and Eve, Moses, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and the martyring of Saints Peter and Paul.
The school’s administration had been looking for a way to make the hallway special, Briggs said.
“When we saw some of Jeff’s other murals, we came up with this idea,” he added.
Previously, Arnold created a series of murals for the school where has taught art for nearly 20 years, Woodland Elementary in the Jennings School District. He has also painted a portrait of Mother Theresa of Calcutta for a local Catholic congregation.
Arnold calls himself an “ecclesiastical artist by vocation.” His family attends the Chapel of the Cross Lutheran Church, and he said it was a joy to be able to do the paintings for Atonement.
When he started the project in July, Arnold said he thought the project would take two years to complete—but after painting steadily through the summer, he finished the project in time for the 2011-2012 school year.
Principal Briggs told students during the dedication ceremony that these murals will be enjoyed by future generations and congregations.