BY KARIN ZEITVOGEL | The Pueblo Chieftain | April 26, 2022
Artist Dan Levinson put the finishing touches on the large painting of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus on a teardrop-shaped slab of concrete outside St. Joseph's Church in Pueblo on Monday, as his nephew Garron Armigo smoothed out lettering that read "Our Lady of Good Counsel."
"I've been helping him paint murals whenever I can all over Pueblo," said Armigo, a native of the city. "It's been four or five years now. Whenever I can, I try to get out here and try not to mess anything up."
The painting was inspired by a Renaissance-era fresco by an unknown artist that is now in a church in Genezzano, Italy, Levinson said
The original fresco of Our Lady of Good Counsel is said to have miraculous powers.
How it got to Genezzano, near Rome, is unknown, but popular lore says it detached itself from a wall in a church in Albania, where two men had come to pray for safety during the invasion by the Ottomans, and then miraculously reappeared in the shrine in Genezzano.
That was on April 25, 1467. Since then, April 26 has been the feast day of Our Lady of Good Counsel, one of the titles given to the Virgin Mary.
The small garden in Pueblo where the painting is housed was inspired by "a vision of a sister who used to be at St. Joseph, Sister Joanna Rosciszewska," said Nancy Bachicha, a member of the committee of the Council of Catholic Women and the designer of the space.
"We decided to do the teardrop ... to reflect Mary's tears that she cried for her son, Jesus," Bachicha said. "It kind of ties into our vision of what we wanted here — a garden that people would go to, to pray and reflect."
The garden faces South Aspen Road to invite people in to the peaceful space, Bachicha said.
Levinson, who has done murals and paintings around Pueblo, including one called "The Steel Worker" on a building at 1228 E. Evans Ave., and the giant depictions of Dutch Clark at the stadium that bears his name, was brought in to work on the project in November last year.
"We've been working ... to get the concrete resurfaced and painted, but the problem was winter and bad weather — we couldn't work on it for many months," said the artist, who studied at the University of Colorado Boulder and the prestigious Pratt Institute in New York, and who used to teach at Central High School.
But on Monday, he and Armigo were on track to finish the painting in time for the feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
Levinson's work and all the other elements of the meditation garden have been funded by monetary and in-kind donations, Bachicha said.
The painting will be given several layers of a protective finish before it is dedicated by Father Joseph Vigil on May 19.
Garron Armigo, left, helps his uncle Dan Levinson perfect the lettering on the large image of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus Levinson painted on a tear-shaped slab of concrete outside St. Joseph's church in Pueblo on Monday.
"We had him do the first blessing after we completed the phase one (of the meditation and prayer garden) in 2015," Bachicha said .
"This closes the circle."