Edmond artist Bob Palmer and some of his University of Central Oklahoma art students recently completed a mural project in the children’s wing at Edmond’s First Baptist Church, and are working on another mural project at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Palmer has painted more than 600 murals around Oklahoma, including dozens in Edmond.

The theme of the project at First Baptist is “From the City To the Country,” and portrays Jesus in both rural and urban areas, including a skyline of downtown Oklahoma City. That project includes the entire walls on both sides of the church’s preschool area hallway.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, Christ is watching over you,” said Pat Murphy, children’s ministries director for the church.

To complement the new look, Murphy said the church will replace the existing grey carpeting in the hallway with a brighter colored tile.

“This projects is really for parents as much as it is for children,” Murphy said. “Because if parents feel good about bringing their children here, they will bring them. They’ll know their children are going to have fun here and learn about God here.”

Priest Rita Henault, who leads the children’s and youth programs at St. Mary’s, said Palmer was recommended to the church by one of his UCO students who is a parishioner of the church.

“As soon as I saw his work in other places I fell in love with what he did,” Henault said last week.

In addition to painting hallways at the church, Palmer and his students also painted a number of classrooms there. Various scenes include Jesus as a boy in the temple, Jesus in the marketplace, and Jesus by the sea.

Henault said the murals will accentuate the church’s rotational Sunday School program, where students rotate classrooms every week to learn about the Bible through different modalities.

“We want them to see it, hear it, touch it,” Henault said.

Palmer said he enjoys doing the murals and considers the artistry one of his gifts.

“It’s my way of giving back,” Palmer said.

As part of the design scheme, Palmer and his students left large areas of the St. Mary’s project where other wall decorations including bulletin boards could still be used without taking away from the mural.

“I’m anxious to see it all done,” Palmer said. “I like to see the kids’ reaction when they see it for the first time.”

(David Hartman can be reached by e-mail at dhartman@edmondsun.com)

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