2017-10-26 / Community / JT Beacon

Garden dedication honors Kennebunk artist

BIDDEFORD — Longtime Kennebunk resident and local artist, Mary Burnett was recognized Monday, Oct. 23 with a garden dedicated in her honor at St. Louis Child Development Center in Biddeford.

Presiding over the dedication was the Rev. Claude Gendreau who blessed the garden following the planting of a butterfly bush in Mary’s honor.

The festivities included children from St. Louis’ 4 and 5-year-old classroom launching hand-made paper butterflies into the air and sharing a snack of “butterfly” celery sticks.

Burnett’s whimsical murals of the four seasons have graced the Center’s halls since 2008 when she spent a summer creating them with friend and fellow artist Carol Dalton. 

She would ask children as they passed what they thought she should paint. Purposefully painted at a child’s eye view the murals have become a beloved feature among  children, parents and staff  alike and have inspired much  imaginative play over the years, noted Todd Winship, Director of Children’s Services for Catholic Charities Maine.  

“Mary brought the outside into our Center with her murals so we wanted to honor her generosity with a butterfly garden that would extend her spirit of wonder and whimsy to the children as they arrive each morning,” added Winship.

Catholic Charities CEO, Steve Letourneau extended his deepest appreciation to Mary Burnett for sharing “her tremendous talent with the children so that they may be inspired to dream and draw their own works of art and for her ongoing generosity and support of the Center.”

In addition to the murals, Burnett purchased the circle time rugs for all nine classrooms, where enriching activities like reading stories, puppet plays, songs, dance and educational school readiness skills take place among other center improvements. 

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