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By B. Scott Mohr
Long time friends Bernadette “Bernie” Price and Jeff Thomas are using their creative talents to beautify central Indiana one wall at a time. From their first mural at Santorini Greek Kitchen in Fountain Square in April 2017 to their latest piece at Spalding Jewelers in Beech Grove, the two are turning bland walls into works of art. The two teamed after Price had purchased some of Thomas’ artwork.
“I had been doing some interior design work, and I thought this would make for a natural tie-in,” said Price, who has served as the Catholic Youth Organization’s girls athletic director for 45 years. While Thomas is a seasoned artist and an award-winning sculptor, Price admits she was a novice when they began work on “Art of Words” at the restaurant.
“I really hadn’t picked up a brush before,” she said. “I didn’t have a clue. I told Jeff when we started the project, ‘If you dismiss me, I understand.’ We found out that we work well together. “We are so grateful to Jeanette and Taki Sawi for allowing us to create our first mural at their restaurant.”
The mural serves as a reminder to the importance of face-to-face conversations. Their creation at Spalding Jewelry, “Gemstone Alley,” is a series of gemstones that adds a flair of personality to the wall. “All of our murals glitter when the sun hits them because of the glitter we put in the paint,” said Thomas, adding that their murals have a minimum of three coats of paint. The gemstones have five.
“I would like to thank Frank Mascari of Spalding Jewelers for opening the door of opportunity for additional artwork in Beech Grove,” said Price, whose late husband, Dr. Jack Price, was a professor at the University of Indianapolis and IUPUI. Jack and Thomas were best of friends. There really are no prerequisites for a wall, although the surface should be as smooth as possible.
The duo operates under the business One Wall at a Time, and their work can also be seen at Camp Rancho Framasa in Brown County and at the Biltwell Event Center, 950 S. White River Parkway West Drive, where they are hosting an art show from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 23. Price and Thomas were at the camp Sunday, eyeing places for more murals, most of which take about three days to complete. Thomas’ original paintings and prints are on display the Biltwell and Jockamo Upper Crest Pizza in Greenwood, and he has line of clothing that can be viewed at www.onewallatatime.com.
He is always painting but normally on just one piece at a time. It’s easier to stay that way because the paintings are pretty big.” Price said she and Thomas, who’s employed in the operations department (sets up for events) at Center Grove High School, are fortunate that they don’t have to depend on their artwork for their living.
“That makes it so much fun because we don’t have to make a lot of money. Whatever we do make we put back into the community. “I never knew I could do anything in art. You just can’t be afraid to try. I was a little scared at first, but now I’m having a blast.”