One of his paintings shows modern-day soldiers marching up a hill to where Jesus is hanging on a cross.
“Everybody comes to Jesus someday,” James Mitchell explained.
Mitchell, known to friends as Max, is a homeless man staying at the Grace House, a transitional center in Columbus.
His paintings will hang alongside those of other homeless artists Thursday from 5 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at a special free show in the Columbus State University Corn Center for the Visual Arts on Front Avenue.
More than 100 pieces of art will be on display and available for purchase. The artists will receive 80 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their work and 20 percent will be donated to SafeHouse.
The artists do their work once a week in a “Home Is Where the Art Is” program begun by noted artist Bo Bartlett. Local artists and students guide and assist homeless individuals to create their own unique pieces of art.
They paint at the SafeHouse of Columbus a resource center located in the Rose Hill United Methodist Church. The facility is a program of the Chattahoochee Valley Jail Ministry of which Neil Richardson is executive director.
Mitchell, a musician at a local church, the father of four, said Bartlett told the artists to paint about things significant in their life. The 54-year-old former truck driver likes to do paintings emphasizing love, honor and God.
“I like to put a message. I love being creative and paying attention to detail,” he said.
He first painted when he was 15 but got away from it. He is thankful for the opportunity to get back to something he loves.
“When Max first came to SafeHouse he was withdrawn. He was closed off,” Richardson said. “This program freed him from his walled-in place and released his soul. He is now working and saving money.”
Richardson said everyone is encouraged to come to the show and said those who come will be impressed by the art on display.
He said Bartlett reached out to the ministry to begin the program. Richardson said, “He wanted to give something back.”