In Gettysburg’s sister city of Leon, there is a unique artistic tradition for Easter. The creation of “sawdust carpets” happens on Good Friday. A city block is closed and on the pavement the artists have their day. Paintings are created using dyed sawdust and natural materials such as rice, seashells and leaves from trees.

The Crucifixion, The Resurrection and Mary as mother to Jesus are the common themes. Under a sun beating down (it rarely rains in Nicaragua this time of year), the artists arrange bright colors and dark, shadow and light, into reverent artwork that undulates down the block.

Greg Bowles is the current director for Project Gettysburg Leon, the sister city program between Gettysburg and the country of Nicaragua that was founded in 1986.

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