Johns' mural adds color to downtown building wall by M. Jill Karolevitz Rick Johns has looked at the stark white wall on the north side of Janie�s Sweet Temptations many times, and each view has given him the same impression:
�It�s just a blank canvas sitting there,� he said.
But not for long.
Johns, with the help of a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council, has designed and will paint a mural to bring the empty wall to life.
�The mural will have a garden theme,� Johns said. �It will be something inviting, as if you could pass through it and across to the bluffs on the Missouri River.�
Johns, a local artist and remodeling contractor, hopes viewers of his mural will emotionally experience the vastness of the area in which they live.
�We are city people surrounded by an expanse,� he said. �With the mural, I want to generate that sense of openness and the beauty within it.�
Clarence and Janie Gallegos own the building on which Johns is painting. In addition to the SD Arts Council grant, area businesses have made contributions that will help Johns complete his work, which he says will take about five weeks. He�ll work every day � weather-permitting � on the mural, until it is done. He will initially work alone, but will welcome help.
�I�ll by flying by the seat of my pants to begin with,� he said. �But I have faith that once I get going, people will show up and help.�
Johns earned his master of fine arts degree in painting from The University of South Dakota in 1994. He then moved to Madison, WI for three years to work for a custom construction company, then returned to Vermillion.
�I�ve always wanted to do something for the community and now that I have made it my home, I have found something to give,� Johns said.