Student Paints Mural of Lexington

A proud father’s display of his daughter’s artwork in his office led to a commission for his offspring, a junior art major at William Woods University.

Sarah Williams, the daughter of Jim and Kay Williams of Brookfield, Mo., has painted a 14-foot mural of historic Lexington, Mo., to hang in a new restaurant there called Lexington Brewery.

“The man I did it for saw some of my work in my Dad’s office and asked if I would be interested in painting a mural,” she said. Her father is an associate circuit judge in Linn County.

As a busy college student, Williams was afraid she wouldn’t have time to do the mural. However, Terry Martin, WWU professor of art, suggested doing the project as independent study under his guidance so she could earn class credit at the same time.

The mural is based on the history of Lexington, following the theme of transportation through the years. It is 14 feet long and 4 1/2 feet high and the first part depicts Lewis and Clark with their pirogues (canoes made from hollowed tree trunks). Next is a Conestoga wagon traveling through the Lexington area on the Santa Fe Trail.

Steamboats, which can be seen in the middle of the mural, were a huge part of Lexington’s early commerce and played an integral part in its economy.

Another section of the mural features scenes of the early town of Lexington, including the oldest functioning courthouse west of the Mississippi. A Civil War cannon ball can still be found in the top of one of the pillars.

Williams made several trips to Lexington to do research and look through the archives.

“This was my first mural,” she said, “and I really learned a lot. I worried about the large scale but just stuck to the basics, such as painting thin to thick and started out by just blocking in the shapes and values.”

She added, “It was important to work on the piece as a whole and not focus on one spot until it was finished and then move on.”

Williams said she learned a lot from her professor.

“Mr. Martin was an invaluable help to me in designing and executing this work,” she said. “He has much experience with painting murals and passed on many helpful tips. He was supportive and inspirational, and I could not have done it without him.”