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Friday, August 01, 2014, 11:49 p.m.
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Searcy artist honors veterans with mural

By Angela Spencer

This article was published June 29, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

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Daniel Adams, professor of art at Harding University, works on a mural honoring veterans on the outside wall of the Zion Climbing Center in downtown Searcy. The mural says “thank you” to veterans for their commitment to the United States.

SEARCY — With the soundtrack of the movie Lincoln playing softly in the background, Daniel Adams brushed blue paint onto the north wall of a building in downtown Searcy. With concentration, Adams filled in the area he had previously stenciled to form the seal of the U.S. Navy.

Adams, a professor of art at Harding University in Searcy, started the mural on the outside wall of the Zion Climbing Center right after Harding’s spring graduation. His completion date has been pushed back because of uncooperative weather, but he said he hopes to have the mural finished by Friday.

The mural, which emblematizes the military branches’ seals and the prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action symbol against a background of camouflage, thanks veterans for their service. The symbols surround two simple words encompassing the project: “thank you.”

This is not Adams’ first mural in the town. He was working on the mural panels on the county tax assessor’s office when White County Judge Michael Lincoln approached him about a mural specifically in honor of veterans.

The paint was purchased by Main Street Searcy from Ace Hardware at a discounted price, and Adams is donating his time for the project.

“The idea was that since this is for veterans — and they sacrificed their time and service to the United States — and my artistic gift is a gift from God, I can sacrifice my services to donate to this,” Adams said.

Adams is not a veteran, but his father served in the Korean War. Adams was, however, the first in his family to register for the draft, although he was never called to serve.

The mural faces Market Avenue and is 60 feet long and goes from 14 to 17 feet high. Adams, who teaches graphic design at Harding, designed the mural on the computer, then divided it into a grid. Each half-inch grid square on paper is the same as a 1-foot square on the wall. After measuring the grid on the wall in pencil, he then freehanded the design.

Adams said the camouflage has several meanings. First, it hides the concrete wall that had been recently graffitied.

“One of the things we noticed about the other mural is that nobody has graffitied, or tagged, the mural,” he said. “We thought we could stop that graffiti here because once it starts, it grows.”

The mural’s background also signifies veterans returning home from active duty. Sometimes, Adams said, service members come back into society and blend in, but it is important to remember their service.

“All of the seals are pushed to the edge because that’s what happens,” he said. “The bright colors of the emblems are going to bring them back into focus. The “thank you” is going to be in olive green, so it will pop while keeping with the uniform colors.”

Adams has not worked alone on the mural. He has had help from three high school students: RaeAnne Kiihnl from Searcy High School, Julie Dawson from CrossPointe Preparatory School in Searcy and Rachel Moore from Harding Academy, also in Searcy. In addition, Adams has been assisted by Dave Towell, with whom he has worked on murals on art mission trips in other countries.

“There’s a lot of donating going on,” Adams said.

Staff writer Angela Spencer can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or aspencer@arkansasonline.com.

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