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Collaborative mural project underway in Bethel

The Gem Theater in Bethel is using its walls to showcase art and unity in the community.

When co-owners Melissa Prescott and Wade Kavanaugh first purchased and opened The Gem Theater in Bethel, the outside didn’t reflect the creativity happening on the inside.

In an effort to bring life to the outside of the building and provide some art for the community, Cathy Lane, the coordinator of the Bethel Mural Project, painted a mural on the outside of the theater.

The community reacted with praise and wanted to see more.

The Bethel Area Arts and Music (BAAM) began the Bethel Mural Project in order to do just that. It started by getting Maine mural artist Ryan Adams involved. Known for his abstract art which uses shapes and shadows, he began fashioning a design that would wrap around the entire theater.

"I kind of tried to get to know them a little bit and ask them about what were the things that make the most of them. If they could say something to their entire community, if they could scream something to the world, what would that be," Adams said.

"And so through these conversations, a consensus started to emerge. The message that the students wanted to send in the mural was that we need to work together."

To get a sense of what the community would like, Adams worked with middle school art students from Telstar Middle School to come up with a theme. They came up with a design and the words “We Go Together, We Grow Together” which would be embedded in the art.

Co-owner of The Gem Theater, Kavanaugh plans to have the mural finished by next week and tells us, “I think the most important thing to come out of this mural is that we are all filled with a renewed sense of hope.”

"It's a way to open up communication and dialogue with a new community, with something that is hopefully pretty to look at."

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