Mural in Campus Ministry offers hope

Jan 23, 2020
campus ministry mural

The Campus Ministry office at Newman University recently unveiled a colorful mural depicting Mary, Undoer of Knots.

Father Adam Grelinger, Newman chaplain, said the goal was to create a relaxing, inviting space within the office for students to do some personal studying, reading or even a group Bible study.

“Art is something that lifts our spirits, especially because school can be a stressful time that comes with some anxiety,” explained Grelinger. “The art itself is a depiction of Mary, Undoer of Knots and the mural recognizes that Mary prays for us before Jesus her son, cares for us and loves us as a mother and undoes the knots of our lives.”

Through Emily Simon, assistant director of Campus Ministry, local artist Heather Byers heard about the opportunity and felt an immediate connection to the project.

Heather Byers
Wichita-based artist Heather Byers.

Byers said, “Emily reached out to a friend of hers who is really involved in the local art community. They put out an open call and it sounded like a project I’d be interested in doing. So I responded and we came up with an idea together.”

The artwork took Byers approximately 25 hours total, working three to four hours each day through the university’s winter break. Even though students were off-campus, plenty of staff and faculty were able to watch the progress.

Byers said one of her favorite parts of doing community work such as this is the interaction she gets to have with people.

“It’s fun to have people come by while I’m working. Typically when I’m doing artwork, I’m alone and it’s quiet, but it’s a fun change when it’s a community piece. I get to interact with people and find out how they feel about it as it’s coming along.”

Grelinger stated that the project exceeded expectations.

“Seeing it across the wall — just huge and full of color — it’s amazing,” said Grelinger. “It brings the room to life. It’s a unique and creative take on the original image of Mary, and it’s a beautiful thing to have this kind of artwork in the Campus Ministry office.”