GREENVILLE — When residents and visitors alike stroll past the new Danish Festival mural that now hangs alongside its predecessors, they will catch sight of a young peasant girl who boasts an expression of pure joy, warmth and happiness.
Those are the same feelings artist Luverne Adamson hopes will be instilled in the very observers who come across her mural as they take in the image portrayed from Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale, “The Red Shoes,” which serves as the theme of the 50th annual celebration of the Danish Festival.
“I always think of the kids who will be looking at it,” Adamson said. “I just want people to enjoy it and be happy. I used the part of the story in the beginning where the cobbler’s wife make’s shoes for the little girl who has no shoes.”
Adamson was commissioned to create the mural after winning the 2014 Danish Festival Poster Contest, and it was unveiled Friday on the north exterior wall of Preferred Credit Union. The event is sponsored by Meijer Inc.
A resident of Vestaburg, this is Adamson’s third consecutive year winning the contest, which came with a $250 prize.
“I love doing it and I feel very honored that I was chosen again to do it,” she said. “I recently found out I’m 50 percent Scandinavian, with Norwegian and Danish roots, so this means so much more to me now.”
Adamson said it took about two-and-a-half months to complete the 12-foot-tall by 8-foot-wide mural.
Danish Festival Director Pamela Jorae said Adamson’s work has always been impressive, stating that this year’s sample is equally as impressive as her previous works.
“We’re elated again, as this is our 11th mural, a tradition that began in 2004,” Jorae said. “She does absolutely fantastic work, and I’m ecstatic with how this year’s piece turned out.”
Adamson said she designed the mural based on Danish culture from the 1800s, from the outfits worn by the characters from the story to the design of a clock hanging on the wall.
“It’s centered on one of the earliest translations of the story,” she said. “I went that way with the mural because I liked the idea of a down-to-earth, happy family image.”
Adamson said she studied Danish costuming for women and specifically noticed the “beautiful trims” on the bottom of the classic dresses.
“If you focus on Scandinavian art, especially folk art, there’s a lot of reds, blues and yellows,” she said.
Now that her work is done, Adamson said she just hopes people will continue to appreciate the Danish culture and heritage that surrounds Greenville.
“This is just so much fun,” she said. “I hope that, especially children, will really enjoy the story and the way that I have tried to portray it.”