On Wednesday, November 13, a new painting was dedicated to the North Building at Concordia University Ann Arbor.
Bill and Nancy Reichenbach are the generous donors who gifted The Parable of the Sower to the university, a original piece painted by the late Harry Antis. The Reichenbachs were long-time friends with Antis, attending church together at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor.
The Parable of the Sower is a powerful depiction of the parable found in the Gospel of Mark, chapter four, and is representative of Concordia as a Christ-centered, mission-driven, and student-focused institution.
This painting is one of twelve large Biblical pieces that Antis created after shifting his focus from wildlife art to Christian artwork later in his career. The Reichenbachs purchased the piece from Antis’ collection and then decided to donate it to Concordia.
“This piece is hung in a place where hundreds of students, faculty, and staff will pass by every single day and be reminded of the power of God’s Word,” said Vice President of Administration Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson. “The work they are doing—in particular at the North Building as nurses, athletic trainers, exercise science students, and future programs offered in the medical field—is the Lord’s work. No matter where they serve, they are serving in the name of Jesus.”
The Reichenbachs and other friends of the artist shared that the people posed in his paintings were actual friends and family members that he arranged for the painting. They then took photographs of the scene, which is what Antis worked off of as he painted.
Antis and his son would then created a frame significant for each of his pieces. For The Parable of the Sower, the frame is covered in seeds symbolic to the parable that the painting represents.
Dr. Cindy Fenske, campus dean of the school of nursing and also a close friend of the Reichenbachs, helped to select the location where the painting would be installed. Located on the second floor, the painting will be the first thing people see when they reach the top of the main staircase. This is the second painting of Antis’ to be on display in the North Building. The first, the scene of Jesus’ birth named ‘The Nativity,’ was purchased through a crowdrise effort by faculty, staff, and friends of Concordia in 2016.
"May the seed that was planted in you and the seeds you will plant be brought to harvest."—Bill and Nancy Reichenbach
“We are very honored that the Reichenbachs had the ability and willingness to donate this painting to us,” said Fenske. “Our students will be blessed by this, and its a living memory of them and we are honored they thought of us.”
Bill and Nancy intentionally requested to include a quote on the painting’s plaque, describing the purpose for their donation: ‘May the seed that was planted in you and the seeds you will plant be brought to harvest.”
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— Rachel (Ferry) Thoms is manager of campus communications for Concordia University Ann Arbor. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-995-7403.
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