Sisters complete masterpiece

Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Local artists paint Ozark-inspired mural On May 7, Margaret Jump and Vida Finch dedicated an Ozark-inspired mural to all community members who support and utilize the Cassville Senior Center. The sisters spent the last two months and over 500 hours painting the mural, which features a beautiful southwest Missouri landscape. Pictured above, from left, are: Finch and Jump. Democrat Photo

Margaret Jump and Vida Finch spent the last two months creating a masterpiece. The sisters painted a remarkable mural at the Cassville Senior Center.

"We are through," said Jump. "We wanted to tell you how much we appreciate all the support we got from each and every one of you. We made hundreds of new friends. We did not receive one negative comment, and we loved every minute of it."

Jump said that she and Finch arrived every morning with a "happy heart" and tried to channel their happiness into the mural.

"We did this for you and the community," said Jump. "We did it for the pleasure of doing it and because we were able to do it together."

Jump said that Finch had lived outside Barry County for nearly 50 years. A few years ago, Jump called her sister and suggested Finch move back to the Ozarks. Although Finch dismissed the idea at first, after some thought she decided to follow her sister's advice.

"This is the first big project we have done together," said Jump. "We've never painted anything this size. What we painted is all out of our minds."

Finch and Jump started the project at the end of February and completed the mural on May 4. The sisters worked on the project for more than 500 hours.

"We started this project by getting permission from the board to finish what was already up here," said Jump. "When we saw what was up here, we knew we couldn't finish it, because it is not our style.

"We decided we wanted the Ozarks," said Jump. "We didn't get permission from the board. We've always heard that it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission."

The mural features a bubbling brook, an American bald eagle, a cabin by a pond, a hayfield with a Holstein cow, a barn, a church, a cemetery and other Ozark landscapes.

"We didn't put in an armadillo," said Jump. "This is mine and Vida's world, and there are no armadillos or snakes in our world."

Jump pointed out that an outhouse was painted into the mural in honor of Wilbur Boley, and the community near the church was named Parker Hill in honor of Linda Parker, Cassville Senior Center administrator. A quilt was painted on a clothes line in the mural in honor of the senior center quilters.

"It is a beautiful scene," said Parker. "I love the different pieces that they have added. The roads and the hills. They have added anything they could think of that is from the Ozarks and Barry County."

At the end of the dedication ceremony, Jump and Finch showed the senior center audience how a set of spotlights that have been placed near the newly painted mural work. When the lights are turned on, they resemble the sun rising over the community in the mural, said Jump.

"The Ozarks hold so many memories for Vida and I," said Jump. "We were raised here. This mural is the Ozarks."

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