WCC - MaskedI could barely walk by the time I drove home and got out of the car. An hour and a half nap was immediately in order as a chaser to a couple of ibuprofen. And nine and half hours of overnight sleep mandatory for a woman of my vintage to recover from a deliciously wonderful day of art making with the youth at church.

A growing group in a growing church, the youth really had no room of their own and weren’t too keen to hang out in the non-nondescript room set aside for their use. With some inspired Pinterest hunting by Meg, their youth leader, an “industrial cool” coffee house theme began to emerge. And Saturday was set aside for a youth work day…with lots of adult volunteers with big-boy-toy tools and paint store art supplies.

When the youth room makeover was announced about six weeks ago, I volunteered to help the youth paint a mural on the largest wall of the room…the one you encounter the moment you step into the space. When Meg pitched the idea to them they were skeptical they could do something of that magnitude that would have the requisite coolness. But thanks to my art making buddy Tara Lamont Eastman, I had a creative ace up my sleeve…rolls of blue painter’s masking tape. By masking off a mural design suggestive of cool industrial pipes or a cool computer circuit board, we created a coloring book fill-in-the-spaces easy-to-paint wall for those who’d never touched a paint roller in the past.

Not surprisingly, the youth were slow to show up in the morning, but that turned out to be a blessing. It took me a while to draw grids on the wall and tape out the beginning design. Once that was in place, one of the younger teens, Caleb, became my able “monkey” scrambling up ladders to finish taping the upper portion of the design, plus all the side walls and baseboards. After lunch, the never-done-this-before painting crew arrived, and we all set to work coloring in the various blocks…more or less according to the small graphic design I’d created for their approval.

Meg had a primary color scheme in mind for the room, so my preliminary design was boldly colored. There was some concern among the youth that it might be “too bright” and suggested maybe substituting secondary colors – purples, greens…and something…well, not so red. I was delighted with their input. Coffee houses these days tend to have a more muted secondary color scheme so their suggestion seemed spot on. But the thing that grabbed me was realizing that, probably unconsciously, they were suggesting a color scheme harmonious to the already existing decor in the church’s fellowship areas. While this was clearly going to be a youth inspired room, it wasn’t going to be visually off-putting.

We pressed on beyond our scheduled quit time to finish all the painting, leaving the unmasking until after worship the following day so the paint had ample time to dry. Besides, a dad and his soon were busy attaching an abandoned crib frame to the ceiling so that various sizes of cool silver slinkies could be hung on it. We had our priorities. Across the room the license plate topped coffee was coming together. And in the near future, Philippians 3:14 will be added near the yellow arrow that wraps the corner of the mural – I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

The final unmasking took maybe five minutes. And tada! There you have it! Some pretty happy kids who accomplished something they didn’t think they could do! Ka-ching. Spends at my bank…and makes all the aches, pains and fatigue worth it.

WCC -Tada

PS – Click on each of the photos to see some additional details I’ve mentioned.

6 comments to Unmasked

  • cynthia thomas

    wow! what a fabulous project!! and what an empowering project for the youth. i think it’s important for them to see that they can do big things, especially when banded together in a common goal. great work, lynne!

  • sharron luft

    Lynne, you are amazing! You never open your mouth without surprising me, thrilling me with your creative, bold, courageous, faithful, comic, and willing offerings to all of us. I just love you!

  • Aahmes Overton

    It’s inspiring, Lynne, how you and your artistry resonated with the kids and envoked “inner artist” in some of them.
    Aahmes Overton

  • Lee Hodges

    you hit that one out of the ballpark! Way to go!

  • Tara Lamont Eastman

    Well done on the masking tape mural! It’s such a simple way to engage many people in art adventures!

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