The Year of the Mosaic

Paua Shell

Back in August, I made an offhand comment to a fellow art league member. An art student home for the summer was looking for ways to fatten up her portfolio, and offered to help us gain some additional community presence. “Why don’t you have her design something for the exterior of the building?” At 52, I could never pass for having been born yesterday. You’d think I’d have known better. The student, of course, is long gone, and quite unaware of the project that snowballed in her breezy wake. I, however, am not unaware. For me, as well as for two phenomenally game artists/movers/shakers, this has become The Year of the Mosaic.

<symphonic interlude> It all starts with one deeply resonant and soul-stirringly-evocative piece of tile.

Damn the poets . . . if only it were so! To be bone-numbingly honest, it all starts with a lovely bowl of soup and happy chatter at Carrabba’s, to be all-too-quickly followed by days, weeks, months of writing, details, editing, details, rewriting, details, changing, details, pasting, details, cutting, details, and an endless uphill stream of detail-y emails that not even the horniest of salmon wants to navigate. But one day, One Day, we’ll get to the tile, right? In the meantime . . . .

The Community Mosaic Project began as a “what can we do with the exterior of this building that we don’t own?” quizzle, and quickly morphed into the seed for an exterior mosaic uniting artists and art lovers throughout the Charlotte community, one square inch at a time. To be more precise, three hundred square feet of one square inch at a time.

Hand-nipped from 4 x 4 porcelain tiles. The hard kind. Oh yes, we will get to the tile.

Our design will focus on Charlotte and the Arts, particularly appropriate for our location only blocks from quite a few major arts venues. The building is also prominently located along the 9.6 mile Lynx Blue Line light rail slated to open in November, pulsing passengers and would-be gallery/theatre/hip hop enthusiasts into the heart of the district.

Our hope is to demonstrate with colorful tiles our story of art and the human condition, holding workshops and providing materials for any and all who want to participate. Young, old, arty, charty, disabled, enabled, fabled and free-thinking, we want your hands in our plans.

We’re still fine-tuning the design, signing on partners, begging for contributions, identifying outreach participants, and promising to name our children after volunteers. The arts have given us joy, hope, wonder, peace, fun, and gleanings of enlightenment since the first oceanic amoeba grasped a Crayola in his ooze. Celebrate. Want to play with us? All comers welcome!

5 thoughts on “The Year of the Mosaic

  1. Hey Pam,
    I just saw the sink on Mao Southeast and then read your article. I think this is fantastic! If there’s anything I can do from the Triangle area, just let me know. Please keep me on what ever e-mail lists you have for volunteers, too!


  2. Oh, Pam…

    What fun! I won’t be there helping, but I can’t wait to read of your progress. Did you ever get to the part about the tile? 🙂

    Be sure to call Andrea, as she was one of a duo that did the exact same thing in Fredericksburg this summer.

    Good luck!



  3. Hi Kimmy! Boy, that would be FANTASTIC! I’ll add your name to the update list so you’ll always know what’s going on. Any time you’d like to participate, we’d love to have you, and I mean that. I still have an extra room!


  4. Oh how wonderful Pam!!!! I’ll keep checking your progress. I’d like to spend a day or so snipping tile and being part of a community mosaic. I’ll keep checking, maybe it will be possible.



I love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s