Mural of religious leaders at North Omaha church designed to bring people together

A mural on a North Omaha church aims to highlight the history of the area and the role religious leaders play.
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 4:44 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A visual reminder of the thread holding North Omaha together for decades and a celebration of the community in a very public way.

Churches have long been a constant foundation in the Black community.

Now, a very special art project honoring those who worked to hold the community together is nearing completion.

The hope is that the artwork will hold meaning for current and future generations.

An artist working on a very rare canvas…sharing a segment of North Omaha history in an unusual place.

On the south side of Mount Moriah Baptist Church on the corner of 24th and Ohio Streets -- a mural depicting five religious community leaders.

Manne Cook with North Omaha Trails said the churches of North Omaha were instrumental in maintaining a solid foundation in the area for generations.

“You don’t often see murals on churches, and I think it’s a testament to the community, North Omaha’s community that even the churches have murals...right,” he said. “The churches played a strong role in the community, especially this community, and just outside of just going to church, the impact that they have on the community through their work in the community is important and I think just recognizing that.”

Joelle Storet is the artist of this mural. She said she was a little overwhelmed by the prospects and the impact of her work.

“Oh my God, I’m still processing everything because I felt like I’m getting more responses from the general public and so this sense of community, I’ve never seen it like this before,” she said. “I’ve done murals before but church just kind of brings more people together for some reason and it’s been amazing to hear people shouting out on the street.”

Joelle is originally from Brussels, Belgium. She currently lives in Arkansas. Joelle was contacted by church members through social media during the pandemic about the project.

After a year of planning, Joelle finally made it to Omaha last Thursday. She hit the ground running --- or rather painting. She’s become a regular fixture here at the church.

“Oh, I lost track of time. but yeah, I would say mostly throughout the day,” she said.

Pastor T. Michael Williams said this highly visible work of art is intended to commemorate all denominations in North Omaha -- to be viewed by everyone in the community, with two main goals in mind.

“To present a positive message,” Pastor Williams said. “(The) second is the opportunity for us as a church to really celebrate the black church here in North Omaha.”

Behind the faces of North Omaha’s religious leaders is a choir...Joelle Storet said that’s highlighting a familiar feature of Black churches.

“Basically, you’re supposed to hear the choir as you’re looking at it because they’re all singing,” she said.

One church, celebrating the history of all of the black churches in North Omaha -- with an added goal of bringing everyone together as one.

“We think it’s a good representation of our churches here in North Omaha,” Pastor Williams said.

The mural is at one end of the North Omaha Trail that runs from 24th and Ohio to 31st and Sprague Streets.

We’re told there is a soft unveiling scheduled for Saturday morning at 10 a.m.