If 'art for the people' ever existed, the new fresco art mural at the Haywood Street
Congregation in Asheville North Carolina is the ultimate example. Based on the Beatitudes
Scriptures, the fresco gives dignity to those who make their home on the streets of Asheville.
The principle artist of this year long art project is locally born Christopher Holt,
with assisting artists Jill Hooper, Caleb Clark, John Dempsey and Anselme Long. Each
of the artists gave their hearts to this project. Students of Ben Long, a well known
fresco artist who resides in Asheville, the artists also brought high quality to the
Founding minister of the Haywood Street Congregation, Brian Combs,
believes that what's
most sacred is often those who are overlooked. He says about the mural, "Using the ancient
art form of fresco- a technique which applies colored pigment to wet plaster creating a
durable canvas in perpetuity- homeless and formally homeless congregants became models.
Each were drawn in detail and painted with dignity, investing in the slow and
deliberate process of rendering the sacred in each individual."
Visitors are welcome everyday! April Nance, Fresco Host, is
available for greeting
visitors and sharing information about the fresco. Tools to facilitate the visitor
experience include a kiosk with video and photo displays documenting the production
process and the meaning behind the fresco. Stories about all the street people that
are painted into the fresco are a part of the documentation.