November 7, 2020

Murals Celebrate Nature and Creation Across U.S. Adventist Academies

North Pacific Union Conference Gleaner

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands.” — Psalm 19:1

“Worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” — Rev. 14:7

A large-scale panorama of the seven days of creation welcomes students and visitors of Gem State Adventist Academy (GSAA) in Caldwell, Idaho, United States, to the amazing world of God's natural sciences.

The mural is located on the second floor of GSAA, near the science department, and depicts the epic theme in a smooth, gradual movement. It invites viewers to witness creation, explore each day, and feel the magnificence and the glory of God’s work.

Day One has the light of God shining from above. It shines over deep space and all the solar system planets, depicting the mightiness and greatness of the first days of creation. One ray of the light gently touches the earth. This is the hand of God, whose loving care created a home for the first human beings.

Then the viewer’s eyes “travel” to the world of plants, animals, and the first human couple. The conclusion of the mural is the light of God, only this time it is the light of His presence and His holy rest that He established for all people on the seventh day of creation — His Sabbath.

The mural was accomplished by a team of enthusiastic and talented people, Glen Wahlman, leader of the project and the GSAA science teacher, explained. “This mural was a joint work of all my family. The design was made by my wife, Tatyana, who is an artist and designer with many years of experience. The large-scale painting was done by myself and our sons, Dennis and Vadeem. They helped to paint the many small but very important details of the mural. We all were so excited about this project. We hoped it would bring joy to everyone who enters the area. It was fun to make it, but we couldn’t have accomplished this work without prayers and God’s abundant blessings. We want to dedicate this mural to all the students of GSAA. We want to put our praise voices together and lift them up to our Lord Jesus.”

Wahlman isn’t new to mural painting. He is the creator of several nature murals in places like Leoni Meadows camp and retreat center in California, Great Plains Academy in Kansas, Roseburg Junior Academy in Oregon, Bakersfield Adventist Academy in California, and now GSAA in Idaho.

He is a teacher with more than 25 years of teaching experience at Adventists schools. “The center of all sciences is God, and praise to His creation is fundamental for my teaching,” he says. “I am a teacher who doesn’t like blank walls. I like the style and paint them to support my teaching, to create an atmosphere of pleasant learning of natural studies.”

Wahlman said he likes to include art and design in the classroom because it helps students be engaged and supports their curiosity in the exploration of God’s wonderful world.

“It is very beneficial for the learning process,” he explained. “In my classroom, students have an opportunity not just to study sciences but to gain their own experiences. It's like a little natural history museum with live animals and plants, aquariums with creatures, a large artistic periodic table, a fossil display of prehistoric artifacts, and many land and ocean specimens. The mural creates an atmosphere of God's presence and a feeling of holy organization.”

The original version of this story was posted on the North Pacific Union Conference news site.