Bicentennial mural an impressive piece of art

An individual with an idea and the drive to make it happen is a powerful thing. Just ask Aaron Horrell and Barb Bailey.

The two artists, owners of Painted Wren Art Gallery in Cape Girardeau, came up with a concept more than two years ago to take their Paint for a Cause campaign to the next level, engaging thousands of Missourians across the state to paint a mural in celebration of the Show Me Stateís bicentennial.

The 12-by-30-feet piece of art includes 18 state symbols and had artistic contributions from 16,116 Missourians. At the beginning of the campaign, Horrell and Bailey were a regular feature at events as they sought individuals to participate. (You can count several members of the Southeast Missourian editorial board among the participants.) Then the pandemic put up a major roadblock. But as restrictions lifted for social gatherings, they were able to find creative and safe ways to reengage Missourians of all ages and from all parts of the state.

The mural was unveiled at the City of Cape Girardeauís Great American 4th of July celebration and will now make its way to Jefferson City for the stateís bicentennial celebration. It will be permanently displayed in the Harry S. Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City. If you didnít see the mural at the unveiling, check out pictures with this editorial on www.semissourian.com.

Southeast Missourian readers are familiar with Horrell thanks to his weekly photo essay where he features interesting aspects of nature. And Bailey has been a driving force on the mural and other projects.

We commend the two artists for their work on the mural, from idea to execution to final result. Itís truly a magnificent piece of work that will be a permanent reminder of Missouriís bicentennial celebration and state history. And weíre particularly proud the idea started in Southeast Missouri. Well done!