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Artist Seeks Photos of Local Churches for Second World Record

Suzanne Kraus Mancuso, of Putnam Valley, plans to paint at least 1,000 religious institutions to win her second world record.

, the artist who set a world record last October by making a large scale Painting of the Virgin Mary, has set another goal—a second world record. 

To do so, she will paint 1,000 religious buildings from the area and worldwide, on the back of her original painting, which she has cut into small pieces. The idea came after a friend of hers, Linda Kiederer from Yorktown, saw a picture of the canvas rolled in Mancuso's backyard and suggested that she puts it into good use. 

"It made sense," Mancuso said. "I didn't know what to do with it. It was just going to go to waste."

Now, the artist has decided to include everybody into her project by asking people to send her pictures of various religious buildings which she would paint for the second world record project. She's already painted churches from the Hudson Valley, as well as Alaska, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Kenya, to name a few. Now she's calling on Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

In Wheaton, she's featured .

"Since it was blessed canvas," she said. "I had decided to cut her into 1,000 separate pieces and make 1,000 churches, temples and spiritual places on her blank side, all in the respect for the artwork and recycling of course."

Although painting churches and temples, Mancuso said her project is not religious. It was her fascination with the architectural design of each building, different from the next one, that got her to do it.

"It's a community project," she added because people can directly get involved by sending her photographs. 

In addition as part of the project, Mancuso would paint shrines if anyone asks her to and sends her a picture. Someone had asked her to paint a motorcycle shrine; another one is of place where men and women of the armed forces are buried. She also has a painting in memory of Christina Green, the little girl who was killed during the shooting spree in Arizona when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot. 

Mancuso said she tries to paint at least 10 different churches a day, which takes her about an hour. So far she has completed about 400 painting and plans to be done with the project early next year. Although she needs to do 1,000 for the world record, she would most likely paint more than that. 

"To set a world record you have to be creative," she said. "You have to come up with something totally out of the box. No one has ever created this amount of religious places."

Mancuso hasn't always been an artist, she was also a writer. What got her on that path is her now 16-year-old daughter, Kate, who is diagnosed with autism and attends the Pines Bridge School in Yorktown. Some of the girl's painting are hung on the her bedroom wall. 

"I've always had a fascination for art," Mancuso said. 

She has published two books on Shirley Temple, Shirley Temple Identification and Price Guide in Volume 1 and 2, which were on the New York Times bestseller list. She has also been involved with painting doll faces at the Yorktown Museum. She said she got the idea to paint a large mural after a fellow artist Jennifer Beinhacker jokingly told her to paint a large mural for a world record. 

Although her new project does not have an official name yet, Mancuso said painting takes her around the world and creates something peaceful.

"The bottom line is when you turn on the TV, it's a shock," she said. "There is nothing good in the news. I would love for someone to [read this] and say that lady painted 1,000 churches. I like something pleasant to look at."

When she is done with the project, Mancuso said, she plans to give it all away. 

If you'd like to help, you can send pictures of various religious buildings or information to the Grace Lutheran Church, 3830 Gomer St., Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. Or email Suzanne Mancuso at Shirleyinoz@aol.com

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