In 2004, Kristin Lorson was commissioned to design and create a mural that would depict the 50 year history of Lehman’s. Kristin, having a big appreciation of local history, was honored to take on such a unique project. “Gathering all the information in my research took half as long as painting the entire mural!” Kristin said. The total project was a nine month long stint, that Kristin was able to accomplish right in her own family’s dining room. The 4′ x 10′ piece of Luan board she painted was propped up in the busiest room in her home. “Our dining room is like Grande Central Station! There I would be in the middle of everything painting, while my husband, three kids, a dog and a cat, all ran around me. Although it was busy, it was great for me to have a project like that to work on at home. My kids were a lot younger then.”
One thing unique about this timeline is, there are two stories interweaving with each other. Kristin wanted to go a little further than just expressing key moments in history of the store. She wanted people to be able to visually see how Lehman’s had to adjust with the times as the world was changing, too, yet remain unchanged for the Amish community. “I wanted to portray those moments in history that immediately affected Lehman’s business due to fear in our economy, like the gas shortage and Y2K. But, I also wanted to have some fun with it!” Kristin added. Throughout the mural you will see other timely facts and historic people. Such as, J.F.K., Martin Luther King, Elvis, The Beatles, Lance Armstrong and don’t forget!…Barbie! She was invented in the 50’s. There are other changes, like the seasons, and styles depicted in the cars, and clothes, too.
The mural begins in 1955 when Jay Lehman borrowed money from his father to purchase the gas station that was on the main corner in Kidron, that would soon become Lehman’s Hardware. As the store grew, so did Jay’s family. Now in his retirement, Jay has two of his four children to look after Lehman’s legacy. Carrying on the traditions, centered in the front of the mural are Jay’s son, Galen, now taking on the charge for his father while looking over plans for the future expansion of the store. Galen’s younger sister, Glenda, looks on with pen and paper in hand, ready to get involved. Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the two of them, are Jay and an Amish Contractor to instruct and guide. A representation of the future of Lehman’s Hardware, passing on the traditions to the next generation.
Kristin pointed out that, “The main focus of the mural I wanted to achieve was, that, although Lehman’s grew and adjusted with the times, they always remained true to the Amish Community. The Amish being electricity free rely on Lehman’s to be there for their non-electric supplies.” At the top of the mural, starting in 1955 ending in 2005 is a bright rainbow. To represent how there is always hope. Although there were tough times, there is always a brighter future around the corner. Kristin will be on-hand for the show to answer any questions about this mural or about her other art work. She will have on display some of her other unique painting styles, one of which, she calls her ‘Personality Portraits”, a personalized portrait depicting someone’s life with bright and cheery colors and humor, as well as, other acrylic paintings.
To read meet other artists that are participating in Lehman’s Local Artisan Festival on July 12th, vist www.kidronarts.com and see ‘Artist’s Profiles’.