'Tree of Life Mural' by Spectrum Artworks unveiled at RESOURCE


RESOURCE is a non-profit organization that assists people with employment, provides training to individuals with disabilities, helps those in need recover from chemical dependency, and aids others suffering from serious mental illness. On November 30, they celebrated their 50th anniversary by unveiling the Tree of Life Mural, which was created by artists in RESOURCE's Spectrum Artworks program, a division of RESOURCE's Spectrum Community Mental Health program. Led by artist Amy Rice, the 12 artists created a mural that embodied the mission of the organization.   [jump]

According to RESOURCE's newsletter, the Spectrum artists interviewed staff members on why they feel passionate about the organization. Rice wrote down responses, and later the artists looked through magazines for images related to what they had heard and experienced personally. Over 10 months they assembled a design and went about creating the mural, which now hangs in RESOURCE's main building at 1900 Chicago Avenue.  
"With this mural we are celebrating the work that we have provided to 250,000 people through the last 50 years," says Executive Director Debbie Atterberry. "It also helps us look toward the future."  

At the center of the mural stands a tree, symbolizing RESOURCE's deep roots in the community and its four sturdy branches: The Employment Action Center, Minnesota Resource Center, Recovery Resource Center, and Spectrum Community Mental Health. Employees and board members made individual leaves that also served as anniversary cards that were added to the tree. Other images in the mural include a person graduating from the RESOURCE programs, a woman working on her laptop computer, a Muslim woman in traditional dress (representing the immigrants that RESOURCE serves), a father and son (symbolizing the importance of family), a young boy looking toward the future, and another young boy looking at the viewer, "Because we are his future and he is ours," Atterberry explains.  
After the mural unveiling, guests were invited to tour the Spectrum Artworks studio, where the artists displayed other pieces that they had been working on.  

Amy Rice, who was featured recently on The Dressing Room's 100 Creatives list, says that the 12 core artists in the Spectrum Artworks Program have been working on the mural for about a year.

One artist, who signs her work cynTHIA, states that she likes the program for its support and safety. She hardly did any work before starting the program, but according to Rice during the mural process she was one of the main leaders.  

Christi Furnas says she joined the program because she had a friend that was in it who said that there were art supplies, though she stayed for other reasons. While she likes the togetherness of the group, she also appreciates Rice's encouragement to get out into the community with her art.  

Cecile Bellamy, another Spectrum artist, previously studied art at MCAD and at the University of Minnesota. She found out about the organization while going to a day program at HCMC. She interviewed with Rice, and the artists voted her in. Her strength, she says, is painting the figure, but in recent years she has explored more abstract work that comes from her subconscious.