Works of art

Local artists volunteer time and talent

Mural part of beautification
at La Grange Presbyterian Church

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (August 2005) – For the last 35 years, Malissa Beatty has taken art seriously. Her passion is portrait painting, and she is one of three local artists who recently completed artwork for the La Grange Presbyterian Church.

Malissa Beatty

Photo by Don Ward

Malissa Beatty and others worked for
eight weeks on this mural at the new
church located in La Grange, Ky.

Beatty painted a 10x20-foot mural for the church’s preschool class. It depicts children of all nationalities gathered around Jesus. The children in her mural display features similar to certain children of the church but are not exact portraits of these children.
The mural centers on Jesus, who is sitting on a stone under a tree blessing the children that surround him. Behind Jesus is a dessert landscape full of creatures native to Jerusalem. In the far distance of the painting is the Holy City of Jerusalem.
“Everyone seems to love it,” said Beatty modestly. “People I don’t even know tell me how much they like it.”
When the church was built at 1901 Prestwick Dr., Beatty said it was a project in which the entire congregation became involved. Beatty, 62, decided to volunteer her time and talents because she knew painting “was the one thing I could do,” she said.
Beatty completed her acrylic artwork in the span of six to eight weeks, working long hours every day. She painted the mural on sight while construction of the new church was going on around her.
The entire time she was painting, two other members of the church were volunteering their time. Eugene Stratton, a retired engineer in his late 60s, and Don Gourd, who is in his late 70s, worked six days a week to complete the project.
Beatty’s dedication helped to provide a unique look to the interior of the church. She was allowed to derive her own subject matter after Pastor Al Early pointed out that a scene for the children’s rooms would be nice.

Angel Rabeneck

Photo by Helen E. McKinney

The church’s stained glass cross was
created by artist Angel Rabeneck.

“Artwork always touches people in certain ways,” said Early. He believes the mural is a form of evangelism, capable of drawing people closer to Jesus. “Kids feel it is a safe place,” he said.
Beatty’s son, Corey Beatty, said, “It is a perfect image for kids to see.”
Corey, an art teacher at La Grange Elementary who teaches a Sunday School class for upper grades, also painted a scene for the church with his students.
His class spent half of their time on Sunday mornings painting a mural, and the other half studying a Bible lesson.

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