A painted kaleidoscope of colorful butterflies floats on a mural next to Lincoln’s Noyes Art Gallery at 119 S. Ninth St. The mural is located in the alley on the south side of the building.
The coronavirus pandemic canceled many community events in Lincoln. But owner Julia Noyes said the gallery members, which consist of 100 local artists, continue to move forward and search for ways to connect with the community.
And Noyes, who has run the gallery almost 27 years, found a solution through art.
People of all ages can sign up to paint a butterfly on the gallery’s mural by calling 402-475-1061 to make an appointment anytime Tuesday through Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Anyone is welcome, Noyes said. The gallery will provide paint and brushes, and an artist will assist anyone who participates. Over the years, local artists have painted over the mural. Now, the community mural is an opportunity for more people to leave their own artistic mark.
“It’s one thing to look at art, but it’s another level to be actually part of it,” Noyes said.
The community mural brings more positivity while most people isolate at home to slow down the spread of COVID-19, she said. So, people are encouraged to wear masks and stand 6 feet apart to follow social-distancing guidelines.
Once people finish their painting, they can take photos and share their butterfly on social media.
“People of all ages, including children, can participate,” Noyes said. “They don’t have to be a perfect painter.”
Thirty people have already come to the gallery and painted their butterflies since the mural opened to the public in April, Noyes said.
Sarah Wanek, who painted a butterfly on the mural to express her passion for art, said she hopes the experience allows people to learn and do more art. Wanek is one of the artists at Noyes who can assist the public.
As a painter, Wanek is known for her bright, bold, “stand-out” colors. She experiments with many techniques and styles. She calls her style “hyper-color impressionism.”
“I like working on the mural, helping people to be creative, and encouraging people. I love color,” Wanek said. “I enjoy things that people do together.”
Art can also reflect every day’s situation and observation, Noyes added.
Noyes raised butterflies for years, and she observed how they go from being an egg to a cocoon to finally flying on their own. Today, she realizes how people are now isolating in their homes, just like butterflies staying in their cocoons. When people are finally able to roam outside more freely, they will have a renewed appreciation for life – just like when butterflies can finally fly away.
“We’re all in this together. We are all like butterflies,” Noyes said. “We can survive.”
While the public angst has grown, a colorful painting can uplift the community’s spirit.
“It’s about hope. It’s about doing something positive and beautiful and uplifting for the community,” Noyes said. “We are a community.”
Photos: Lincoln during the pandemic
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