Mosaic panels display in Marquette wrapping up this week

MARQUETTE – Friday will be the last day for the Marquette display of the mosaic mural panels created by the late artist Ed Lantzer.

The collection, called My Father’s Love, have been set up at 2168 U.S. 41 West in Marquette, in the storefront space between Lawry’s Pasty Shop and AT&T since December, but will be packed up Saturday and returned to lower Michigan.

Nancy Rife, the exhibit’s project manager, said the reaction has been overwhelming from the more than 2,000 people who visited the panels in this display and at an earlier showing at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette.

“In our guest book, people have written things like ‘breathtaking’ and ‘a work of wonder and love’,” Rife said. “One young man wrote ‘It’s amazing to see almost a lifetime of work completed. I think of how it is like an individual’s life. We are God’s masterpiece, his work of art in which he takes much joy. Every day is another tile, to us making little sense, but purposeful nonetheless.’ “

Kalkaska native Ed Lantzer, who passed away in 2009, created the 30 4-foot by 8-foot panels that weigh 400 pounds each over the course of his adult life, much of the time while he was homeless. Using a technique called marquetry, small pieces of wood are overlaid onto another wood surface to form a picture.

About 1 million tiny pieces of wood “diamonds” cut either on a 30- or a 60-degree angle were glued together to make the panels, which depict the life of Jesus Christ. The wood is finished with simple varnish rather than painting or staining so the natural hue of the material remains.

The panels had been set up last summer at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette for several weeks. Then they were put into the storefront in late 2012. Before that, the panels had only been displayed two other times: Once in Kalkaska and once in Indiana.

Rife herself has been moved by the exhibit.

“These panels are indescribably beautiful and inspiring. I have spent many hours of the last eight months showing them to hundreds of people, and I never get tired of seeing them,” Rife said. “My own faith has grown deeper by the depth of the love displayed in them, and the determination of Ed Lantzer to spend 21 years of his life sparing no detail to make them so breathtakingly beautiful.

“I believe many people who have seen them will be inspired, like me, to stay committed to whatever task they feel a calling to do, no matter how long it takes.”

The exhibit will be open from noon to 3 p.m. today, 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday and noon to 3 p.m. Friday.

Rife said the panels might be set up for display in the Ludington area this summer.

For more information on the local display, visit

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.