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In the early 1960s artist Millard Sheets was commissioned to create a mural large enough to cover the south face of the Hesburgh Library on the University of Notre Dame campus in South Bend Indiana The work had to be visible from the football stadium and have a theme of saints and scholars throughout the ages As the composition evolved the figure of Christ the Teacher was developed with arms raised in what has become known as the touchdown gesture Stevenson Millard Sheets as one of the founding members of the California Scene Painters exerted a lasting influence upon subsequent generation of Western painters He and the small group of painters who worked in California during the 1930s and 1940s developed a new style of watercolor painting that was at the forefront of the American watercolor movement of the time Papers Sheets was born in 1907 in Pomona California his mother died during childbirth and the Millard was sent to be raised by his maternal grandparents Encouraged to pursue art by two maternal aunts first by using crayons and pencils and later using paints He won his first art competition in 1919 at the Los Angeles County Fair Papers After being schooled in the Choinard School of Art in Los Angeles as a child and by master printer Dorfinant in the late 1920s and further education at Scripps College in Claremont CA Sheets opened the Millard Sheets Design Company in 1953Papers Throughout the late 1950s through the mid 1970s the studio completed several major architectural projects like Cal Aero flight school the Scottish Rite Memorial Temple and many banks The studio also did many murals like Los Angeles City Hall The Detroit Public Library and the Dome of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC Papers Millard Sheets died on March 31 1989 in Gualala California The official designation for the mural is the Word of Life mural because it is
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