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Under the sea

Four artists contribute to Fish Room mural

Four local artists contributed to the creation of The Fish Room mural.

A handful of brightly colored tropical fish swims past an ancient sunken ship, while a jellyfish floats not far away. A shark with a devilish grin keeps an eye on the scene, which includes a scuba diver and a treasure chest.

This underwater scenario isn’t beneath the waves of the southern Pacific Ocean, however. It is in Fort Dodge, on the side of the building that houses The Fish Room, a business that sells tropical fish and aquariums.

All those sea creatures, the shipwreck, and the diver are featured in a mural that covers the east side of the building at 1224 Central Ave. The mural is 85 feet long and 15 feet high, according to Tom Bethke, the owner of The Fish Room. He said he believes it is the largest full-color mural in Fort Dodge.

Deb, a striped damselfish from the popular Disney movie "Finding Nemo," is depicted on The Fish Room's mural.

Work on it began in the summer and wrapped up a little more than a week ago. The mural is the work of four local artists: Aubrey Flannery, Renee McDonald, Amanda Peart, and Alyssa Sparks. Bethke said the mural has been getting plenty of attention. “We have had many people take pictures of it and have their pictures taken with it,” he said. Bethke said he asked Peart, who had done some artwork for the store previously if she would be interested in doing a mural.

The doors on the east side of The Fish Room now appear to be a treasure chest based on the work of local artists who created this mural.

When she agreed to do it, Bethke and his family painted the metal siding blue, creating the appropriate background for an undersea scene. He summed up his instructions to the artists as, “I’m not an artist, you do what you want.” Peart and Flannery got the mural started, painting, among other things, the shark. Sparks painted some undersea creatures, such as the jellyfish. McDonald then finished up the overall project.

Various characters from the popular Disney movie "Finding Nemo" are depicted on the mural at The Fish Room.

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