The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

January 16, 2010

Oronogo church to dedicate mural during service today

By Emily Younker

ORONOGO, Mo. — New Providence Baptist Church will dedicate a new mural in its sanctuary today that depicts the life of Jesus.

Artist Dan McWilliams said the mural, an oil painting on canvas, features 12 stories from Jesus’ life, beginning with the Nativity scene and ending with a depiction of his ascension into heaven.

Several scenes on the 4-foot-tall, 9-foot-wide mural blend together. The picture of Jesus’ baptism, for example, features a “quiet pool of water that turns into kind of a raging storm across the sea” in a separate picture of Jesus walking on water, McWilliams said.

Similarly, the tablecloth from the Last Supper scene becomes part of a windstorm, another element of the image of Jesus walking on water, he said.

The mural also features scenes depicting Jesus with his father, Joseph, in Joseph’s carpentry shop, and Jesus in the temple.

Church member Richard Brand said he thinks the finished product turned out great.

“It’s very impressive,” he said. “(McWilliams) has done a very good job with it.”

Brand said he can’t pick a favorite scene from the mural, preferring instead to view it in its entirety.

“It all kind of flows together and makes you kind of step back and look at all of it,” he said.

Brand said his wife, Lana, and Lorene Sprenckle, another member of the church, came up with the idea of commissioning a mural for the church several months ago and already knew of McWilliams, a Jasper resident.

McWilliams, meanwhile, said he was pleased to have received the call.

“I’d been wanting to do some religious art because as an artist, the talent is a gift from God,” he said. “It’s a great passion. I love painting.”

McWilliams became a full-time artist nine years ago after painting the faces of about 20 anonymous people of different ethnicities on the wall of his pizza shop, Gem Dandy’s Pizza in Jasper.

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Carthage, Jasper County
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