The Haywood Street Congregation will host two community events to celebrate the completion of its new fresco on Wednesday, November 13, from 12:30–1:30 p.m., and Thursday, November 14, from 5–7 p.m. “It’s bittersweet and absolutely surreal,” says principal artist Christopher Holt. “While I’m happy to see our work come to completion, I know that I’ll miss the rhythm of working in one place, surrounded by incredible people, and creating a piece of artwork that speaks for so many.” Holt was assisted by artists Jill Hooper, Caleb Clark and John Dempsey III, as well as apprentice Anselme Long.
The fresco is based on “The Beatitudes,” eight declarations that opened Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. The fresco, which is more than 28 feet wide and 11 feet tall, features detailed portraits of community members who often attend the Congregation’s Downtown Welcome Table, which serves more than 1,000 meals a week to those in need. The design was created by Holt and Reverend Brian Combs. “The fresco grew organically throughout the entire process,” says Holt. “I did come to a solid composition that guided the project, but there were subtle changes taking place along the way.”
Holt hopes that those who experience the fresco are connected to the mission of Haywood Street Congregation: relationship above all else. “There is an equality, a dignifying statement being practiced there that can help us be the Ashevillians, the North Carolinians and the citizens we want to be,” he says. “I am moved by the community that is Haywood Street—its holy chaos, its unpredictability, its truth. It has blown my heart wide open.”