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Summer never ends thanks to library mural
August 23, 2013 · Margaret Stevens

Library-goers can experience "Endless Summer" with a mural in the young adult section of the Lisbon Public Library. The new mural is Nina Scott's depiction of the landscape west of Lisbon.

The piece was commissioned by the library board, using funds donated by friends and family of Melinda Hudson in her memory. The long-time Lisbon resident and library supporter died in February 2012. 

"Melinda was a great supporter of public art and a great friend of the library," said library director Amy White. "I feel like this is a great way to memorialize her."

Board members decided to use the funds for public art, something to connect to the tree in the children's section. They put out a call for submissions and selected Scott, who sent an artist's statement along with her drawing. In it, she said "place" and "opportunity" are the words that come to mind when she thinks of the Lisbon Library. She said that the library is open, welcoming and offers the chance to "explore the world within and the world without.

"A youth with a book (or tablet) is there to show that ... in a library you can travel infinitely in and infinitely out if you make use of the opportunities." 

The mural is Scott's take on a local scene - Lisbon Road west of town. A young reader sits on the left; a stand of poppies and black-eyed susans grows on the right. Scott said the poppies were inspired by flowers she saw while walking in Lisbon. 

The mural follows the tradition of large public art in capital rotundas or post offices, minus the grandiosity. 

"I wanted it to be about the kids that were there and I wanted to make in the present," Scott said.

"I really like painting clouds so it had to have clouds," she added.  

Though she thought about the scene and the colors for some time, Scott started the actual painting in the library in February and finished in May. She mostly worked outside library hours, but as she neared completion of the project, she wanted to work on it all the time, said White.

"A lot of children got to see her doing it," White said. "I thought it was fun to have them see the process." 

Scott told children who watched her painting that they needed to ask their parents before drawing on their own walls. 

Scott said she usually doesn't like revisiting a piece after it's completed, because she tends to see the things she'd like to change. On this piece, however, she said 90 percent of the time "I look at it and really enjoy it."

"I think the Iowa landscape in summer when green is really beautiful," she said. "You've got to hold on to that all year."

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