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Since she was young, Christina Moran has been creative. Growing up, she was involved in Edgar County 4-H, making different projects that ranged from flower arranging to ceramics.
“I started drawing some and painting in school art class and love it, but set it aside when I left high school and pursued a career in law enforcement and emergency medicine,” Moran told us. “To this day, art has been a away for me to deal with every day stressors and I get incredibly excited when I complete a project.”
Moran had the opportunity to use her creativity when Amber Raimer, a master gardener, invited her to collaborate on the community garden as a COVID project and something that could be done outside during the lock down phase. “She asked me if I would be in charge of the art and creative side of the garden and of course, I said yes.”
Coming up with the concept for the mural was Christina’s idea, but what to put in the mural was another task. “We really needed something fun and exciting on what is otherwise a drab wall,” Christina said. “We needed a pop of color, something that would draw attention to the garden.”
At the time, the mural would be painted behind ‘Hidden Garden’, which was owned by Judy Wyatt. Moran had spoken with Judy to get her permission. “She said it would be a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete it before her passing.”
To honor Judy, Moran wants to incorporate a little something that represents her. “If the public would give me some ideas, that would be fantastic!”
When choosing ideas for a project, many people venture to Pinterest. Moran is no different. “I got lost in that world searching for mural ideas,” Moran said. “But I never found anything that spoke to me.”
Moran decided that she wanted to incorporate items from the computer, but have a theme throughout. “Since the garden is in the back of the library, I thought it would be cool to have a bookshelf with bits and pieces of the community, like the barn door representing our farming town and memories I have with my dad.”
Planning has been ongoing for a year, not to mention the unpredictable Illinois weather and her work schedule. It was only recently that Moran had a chance to work on it. Each item that has been painted on the wall has a special meaning.
“The books tie in to the Chrisman Library, the sunflower represents a bright future and the barn door has sentimental value for me because my dad and I used to drive around the country and look at old barns on our way to pick strawberries,” Christina said. “I have always had a connection with barns and miss my dad very much every time I see one.”
For the entire project, the wall from east to west will be covered in the mural. Seventy five percent of the wall will be books with different titles and other odds and ends that tie into the community. The east corner will be a community project that is still in the planning phase.
When asked if she plans on doing other murals around town, Christina hasn’t made up her mind yet. “I love having a large blank canvas to work with, unfortunately my schedule does not give me much time to do so,” Christina said. “I would love to do a mural of an old farm house and barn, but have it set in all four seasons that we experience in the Midwest. I can already picture it in my head. Maybe one day!”
If you would like to see the mural, be sure to stop by the library and walk around to the community garden!