On October 24, the Valley of Omaha dedicated a mural painted on the west side of the Scottish Rite, along the parking garage wall.
The mural was the fruit of several months of discussion about how to continue to beautify the Scottish Rite and integrate the historic building into the fabric of downtown Omaha. Past projects outside the building include “the Ashlars,” a stylistic representation of the rough and perfect ashlars by local artist Charles V. Fisher, dedicated in May, 2013. Additionally, the Scottish Rite builta new sign in material matching the limestone exterior with a digital LED display (middle photo), promoting upcoming events and activities.
The task of creating the picturesque scene went to Virginia-based Bulgarian-native Ivo Koytchev. This is his second collaboration with Scottish Rite. The partnership was engineered by interior designer and artist Sandra Lassley from Fe-Fi-Faux Studios. In 2014, Lassley brought Koytchev to Omaha to help her restore the Grand Cross Conference Room, including redecorating its ornate, gold-leaf crown molding and ceiling, dedicated at the Fall 2014 Reunion.
Since coming to the United States in 1989, Koytchev has received numerous commissions in the Washington, D.C. for his murals, including a three-story-tall portrait of Elizabeth Taylor that towers over a beer garden in the northwest part of the district! The Scottish Rite painting of an idyllic garden scene includes two Ionic columns representing the Scottish Rite’s forty-foot
exterior columns, and a few nods to our Masonic degree work, which the viewer is left to discover for himself. Ivo also recommended, which the Board approved, a commission to paint clouds on the ceiling of the second floor hallway, adding a beautiful element to the floor. Ivo says the paint is guaranteed to last for at least 100 years.
The Scottish Rite finished the project withlandscaping, benches and lighting to the lawn. The project is part of an ongoing effort by the Scottish Rite to make the exterior of its historic, 101-year-old building more inviting. General Secretary Curt Edic, 33°, noted that the beautiful painting may inspire wedding rentals, draw attention to the Scottish Rite, and ultimately help draw interest and membership.