Benjamin Swatez didn't sleep Wednesday night.
In fact, he started Thursday with paint in one of his nostrils.
Swatez has been working tirelessly for the last two weeks to complete a mural in Mount Vernon. On Thursday, he was making the final touches.
"It represents the colors of love—the opportunity to join together as a community and to create a piece that will sit around and inspire and dance upon a wall that everybody should be included," Swatez said. "For me, it means that all of us—all together, every ethnicity—and every culture, together, make humanity and make the world beautiful."
The project's being supporting by Voices of the Children and Rachel's HeART, a non-profit organization started by film director Mel Damski.
The mural in Mount Vernon took 14 days to complete. He planned to do it in nine, but the community and children were so inspired and they decided to take on another wall just across the way.
Swatez postponed his other commitments to make sure the mural got done, while giving more than 200 people the opportunity to join him and come paint.
"What I love is the reminder that children are children all over the world," he said.
Swatez travels and paints all over the world. He's planning to paint with refugees in Greece soon. But whenever he's in the U.S., Mount Vernon pulls him back. It’s also where he built an art studio out of a shipping container.
But the past two weeks in the quaint Western Washington town have been extra special for Swatez. He's seen people coming together, expressing themselves, and being creative.
"If I were to have an addiction," he said, "that would be it."
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