Stacy fresco project underway

Photo by Derrick Knutson

World-renowned fresco artist Mark Balma started painting three frescoes on freestanding arches outside St. John’s Lutheran Church in Stacy this week.

The blistering heat last week didn’t allow Balma to get a start on the frescoes because the medium used to create the works of art would begin to dry before it could be finished.

The process was also slowed in another way because the Department of Homeland Security stopped the lime plaster Balma had imported from Italy en route because it’s labeled a “caustic” material by the U.S. government.

Thankfully, however, the plaster made it through customs late last week.

Balma estimated he’d have the first fresco of Moses finished by Saturday.

The other two frescoes that will complete the portrayal of The Transfiguration of Christ – Elijah and Jesus – should be finished by sometime in August, Balma said.

Once completed, the frescoes will be the only known freestanding ones in the world.

“To the best of my knowledge, nothing like this has ever been done before,” Balma said. “The art of fresco has been around for thousands of years, but historically it has been used as decoration for a pre-existing structure.”

The three arches outside of the church were constructed for the specific purpose of being used for frescoes weeks prior to Balma beginning his work.

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