Diocese of Brooklyn, local artist partner to spread Easter message

The Diocese of Brooklyn is partnering with a local artist as part of an Easter ad campaign aimed to inspire forgiveness.

Artist Mike Fusco is painting the image of Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam,” the centerpiece of his iconic work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, on a 20.5 foot by 23 foot billboard on the corner of 81st Street and Third Avenue in Bay Ridge. The painting will be accompanied by the message “Connect with God, experience the power of forgiveness this Easter.”

Michelangelo’s legendary work on the Sistine Chapel was painted over 500 years ago in Vatican City, and this image in particular depicts the hand of Adam reaching out and meeting the hand of God. Although this work may have been done centuries ago, Fusco is honored to recreate the legendary artist’s work.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal to recreate a master’s work,” Fusco remarked. “You’re retracing footsteps, and it puts you in a similar state of mind because you’re working towards achieving the same result hundreds of years after the fact.”

Fusco recognizes that there are some challenges associated with painting something that was created using a fresco method so many years ago, but he has found a method he thinks will work to achieve the same effect.

Fusco said, “While we are painting with enamel, I think it functions in the same spirit as fresco painting did in Michelangelo’s time.”

He also noted that both styles are “the most permanent and workable mediums of their day, and both dry quickly.”

The goal of the painting is to promote Reconciliation Monday, a joint effort by the Diocese of Brooklyn, Archdiocese of New York and Diocese of Rockville Center. On Monday, April 10, churches in the greater New York City area will be open all day until 9 p.m. to hear walk-in confessions from the general public.

Monsignor Kieran Harrington, president and chairperson of DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the diocese, which created the Easter ad campaign, says, “The message is intended to inspire forgiveness amongst all people. But for Catholics specifically, we are encouraging them to go to confession and receive the sacrament of reconciliation in preparation for Easter Sunday.”

The painted billboard, located at 8104 Third Avenue in the parking lot for Brooklyn Market, is only one component of the ad campaign. In addition there are more standard and digital billboards throughout Brooklyn and Queens.

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