Bay St. Louis artist Marian Glaser spent much of the day Tuesday painting a mural at Martin Luther King Park, honoring the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

As well as adding beauty to the park, the mural helps raise “community awareness of what’s going on (in the country) right now,” Glaser said. “It just seemed like something right to do for the park and for the kids.”

Glaser said the mural project was spearheaded by artist Steve Barney and The Arts, Hancock County.

“Last week, we worked with the NAACP Youth and College division to update the ‘I Have a Dream’ mural at the MLK Park,” Barney said. “The response to that was fantastic, and the next day, Rep. John Lewis passed away, and so The Arts, Hancock County saw this as an opportunity to continue the momentum and positive energy at the park, while at the same time, honoring this Civil Rights icon at MLK’s shoulder.

Lewis, a long-time congressman from Georgia, died last week at the age of 80 after a six-month battle with cancer. The son of sharecroppers, Lewis rose to national prominence in the mid-1960s as a staunch defender of Civil Rights and ally of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He survived a brutal beating by police during the landmark Selma, Ala. march in 1965.

“The mural includes iconography of the confrontation in Selma,” Barney said, “showing the Pettus Bridge and the Haisten’s Mattress sign,” representing the iconic “Bloody Sunday” photograph taken on March 7, 1965, showing Lewis being beaten.

Glaser said she hopes the mural “will inspire the children that they can do what they want to do, be who they want to be.”

Glaser, a long-time bay resident, has “always had a great passion for art and creating,” according to her website. “Currently, I’m focusing on portraiture with a desire to incorporate a vintage feeling into my work.”

For more of her art, you can go to her website, www.marianglaser.com; or check out Instagram.com/sweetiegrits or facebook.com/marian.glaser.1.

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