Creating art with a message is something local artist Linda Hoover is familiar with; she’s been painting faith-based murals for several years.
This year she is working with fellow artist Linda Rhoads to paint a 12-foot tall mural inside The Shepherd’s Place, which reopened in downtown Sedalia. The Christian book store, owned by the Rev. Gary Smith and his wife Linda Smith, reopened in May. Linda Smith came up with the theme for the mural.
With three Linda’s putting their minds together, the trio created the theme that explores what happens between the “dash” or between the birth and death of a person.
“This was really Linda Smith’s idea,” Hoover said. “It was her idea that on a tombstone, between your birth date and your death date, that little dash represents your life. The idea of the whole mural is to compare that little bit of time to eternity. Whatever you do with your little dash is going to determine how you spend eternity. So we should live intentionally.”
Hoover and Rhoads, both members of the Sedalia Visual Art Association, began working on the mural in September. Hoover said they had been working several hours a day, one to two days a week on the painting.
Linda Smith said the concept for the painting came to her while teaching a children’s class.
“It flowed out of a character I portray when I’m ministering to children — the ‘Dot Lady,’” she said. “The D-o-t stands for department of transportation or director of travel. Because the road of life is that dash; from the birth date to the death date. So, the Dot Lady is the character that helps people travel according to the Word. Everybody travels; it’s 75 years give or take.”
The mural depicts two angels standing on either side of Jesus, who is holding a magnifying glass aimed at a tombstone. Heaven is above and hell beneath.
“Artistically, the idea was these angels were pulling back the temporal world, revealing eternity, the spiritual world,” Hoover said.
Hoover and Rhoads will paint a light shining through the magnifying glass that will illuminate the dash on the tombstone. The dash will be the “focal point,” Linda Smith said.
“The idea is to get people eternity-minded instead of right-now-minded,” Smith noted. “The dash is really all about training or living for eternity.”
The Rev. Smith, pastor of Liberty Life Church, said he’s pleased to see the mural being painted at the store and that he reopened the shop last spring because there was a need. Several Christian book stores in surrounding counties had closed recently, and former shop patrons began calling Smith asking him to consider reopening the business.
Since opening, the store has been offering Bible study classes at 6 p.m every Monday.
“Right now we’re doing a class called ‘Driven by Eternity’ by John Bevere, which is pretty much this story,” he said pointing to the mural. “That’s kind of the theme of the Shepherd’s Place, it always has been, to provide resources and information to strengthen the spirit and feed the soul. That’s kind of our heart.
“I’m very thankful, Linda and Linda have just been pouring themselves out in here,” he added. “My study group keeps looking each week to see what’s been added. It’s a work in progress. We are trying to get it completed by the end of the year.”
Hoover said she hopes to have the acrylic piece completed in three weeks. She’s enjoyed painting the mural.
“It’s a lot of fun when Linda (Rhoads) is here,” Hoover said. “We don’t have any problem working on top of each other and going back and forth. Linda and I work really well together.”
To see the mural, visit The Shepherd’s Place, 305 S. Ohio Ave. They are open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and from 10 to noon Saturday. For more information on Bible classes, call 816-368-8241 or 281-7404 or visit the store’s Facebook page.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 [email protected]