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Traveling artist creating mural to celebrate All Saints Academy

March 2, 2018
John McCoy in the studio space he set up at All Saints Academy.

A new mural will soon inspire students at All Saints Academy in Grand Rapids, commemorating the school’s history and looking forward to the future. A traveling Catholic artist is creating it.

All Saints Academy is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, marking a decade since the parishes of Blessed Sacrament, St. Alphonsus, St. Isidore and St. Jude partnered to form the school. In honor of the anniversary, the school is having artist John McCoy create a mural which will hang inside the entrance of the middle school campus at St. Jude.

McCoy, based in the Cincinnati area, infuses his Catholic faith into his acrylic paintings.

“I’m doing work for God, for the Holy Spirit. I’m trying to support the Catholic Church in all of the ways art does that,” he said. “I feel like art and God go hand in hand, because God is the author of art, and the real purpose of art is to reveal truths to people and inspire.”

ASA chose to commission a mural from McCoy after a staff member saw one he created for All Saints Parish in Alpena, Michigan, called “Communion of Saints” (see photos here). ASA is the first school to commission a piece from McCoy; his work so far has been for parishes and other organizations.

McCoy arrived at ASA on February 26 and estimates the painting will take six weeks to finish. He’s staying with school families while he’s here; it helps him learn more about the community so that his art really reflects the community.

It was decided ASA’s mural will feature saints Alphonsus, Isidore and Jude adoring the Blessed Sacrament. It may also depict other saints who are important to the All Saints Academy community; for instance, the garden that ASA middle school students keep makes St. Francis of Assisi a natural possibility.

Related: Garden yields hands-on lessons for All Saints Academy students

Still, McCoy and school leaders waited for his arrival to start planning the exact concept. McCoy said that’s important for staying open to God’s will. He explained, “Design itself is dependent on what the Holy Spirit tells me when I’m here.”

The mural is going to be a blessing beyond the ASA community, too. McCoy is documenting the process for an online audience with videos on YouTube and Facebook. He also finds God is working in his life through this particular project; read his blog at this link to learn how.

All Saints Academy serves 250 students in preschool through 8th grade. Learn more here.