A Year of Mosaics | 2018

Mosaic artworks have become a key aspect of the Community Arts Program at Clay Art Center, and 2018 marked a record year for installations throughout Westchester County. Community based mosaics help to unit the community, as many organizations and individuals partner together to make the great efforts of our students a true work of art. Much like a mosaic, in which a single tile cannot stand alone, nor can CAC create these complex works of art without support from the community. We wish many thanks to all of those who helped to design, organize, instruct, and install all 5 mosaics projects completed in the year of 2018. Read on to see all that we accomplished this past year!

The Tree of Life

Created by students from our Clay Expression’s class and instructor Denis Licul

Located at Gilda’s Club of Westchester in White Plains, NY


Clay Art Center’s “Clay Expressions” program, offered free to members of Gilda’s Club of Westchester each fall and spring, has transformed the lives of more than 200 men and women impacted by cancer. The class brings together the tactile qualities of clay with meditation to give each student a place to center themselves, relax, and escape the harsh realities of living with cancer

The Tree of Life is a commemorative mosaic mural, dedicated to the life and spirit of Ilene Rose, a regular student of the Clay Expressions class, who passed from cancer in 2016. Though their instructor provided the outline for the mosaic, the content of individual tiles was left open to interpretation by each student who proved to create vibrant and joyful artworks. The culminating mosaic features elements of growth, nature, renewal and warmth. The mosaic is full of life and has thus been aptly titled, The Tree of Life.

We were proud to unveil this beautiful project honoring and supporting women and men battling cancer. Those present were able to experience the power of  clay arts therapy in promoting self-discovery, camaraderie and healing. 

A special thanks to Teaching Artist Denis Licul for her dedication to this project. We would also like to thank a generous anonymous donor, the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtsWestchester for their support in making this unique program possible.

George Washington Carver Mosaic

Created by 5th grade students at a Port Chester Elementary School

Located at the Carver Center in Port Chester, NY

The George Washington Carver Mosaic was designed by Ariel Edwards as a dedication for the Carver Center’s 75th Anniversary, and commemoration of the organization’s namesake, George Washington Carver. The 7 foot tall and 10 foot wide mosaic was installed in the front lobby of the Carver Center, over the course of one month, however the overall process spanned a year and a half to create all the individual elements, and figurative sculpture.

Clay Art Center partnered with the Carver Center’s after school enrichment program, working with 5th grade students from a local Port Chester school. Teaching Artists Alexandra FitzGerald and Teddy Poneman worked with students directly over a 12 week period to sculpt more leaves, vines, peanuts and peanut flowers, than we could count! Students then used Amaco Velvet Underglazes to decorate each tile and bring it to life. The impressive figurative sculpture of George Washington Carver stands over 6 feet tall, and was created by long-time teaching artist Sarah Cobble. Sarah was an invaluable member of the installation team and the overall process.

Throughout the installation, we received frequent visits from Carver Center’s summer campers, ranging in age from Pre-K to Middle School. Their excitement was always an encouragement to our team and their curiosity led to organic teaching moments over the course of the month. Likewise, the Carver Center Staff was incredibly supportive and engaged, kindly tolerating drilling and hammering during office hours!

We would like thank Teaching Artist Sarah Cobble for the incredible role she played in the creation and completion of this mosaic. Additionally, we would like to thank Amaco for a generous donations of underglazes, which allowed us to work within our undeserved community to make a huge impact (literally, huge!). Finally we would like to thank Joe Kwansniewski Former CEO of Carver Center, Fallen Jean Baptiste, After-School Coordinator for J.F.K. Elementary School, and the entire staff and faculty, for making this mosaic mural possible!

Go With The Flow Mosaic Bench

Created in Partnership with the Westchester County chapter of LINKS Volunteers and the Wartburg Memory Care Unit

Located at the Wartburg in Mount Vernon, NY

Since 2016, Clay Art Center has been providing therapeutic clay classes in partnership with the Westchester (NY) County Chapter of the LINKS Inc, for patients living with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The LINKS are a premier African American women's service group., which joined forces with CAC to bring the "In An Art State of Mind” program to life. The LINKS, fund the program and provide volunteers for each class, which stimulate the minds and creativity  of those who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. The program was established at the Wartburg memory care unit in Mount Vernon, NY, under the guidance of Earlene Cox, who is both a CAC Artist and LINKS Volunteer. After continued successful programming the LINKS wanted to dedicate a permanent project to the residents of the Wartburg..

The site specific project was designed by Earlene Cox, to compliment the unit’s outdoor courtyard and koi pond. Working with teaching artist Vicky Youngman and Susana Valera, the residents created all of the elements included on the bench. The bench top features twelve fish representing the first Wartbug Residents who participated in the program. Six white lily flowers are included to represent the LINKS volunteers who participated in the process regularly. Finally, there are three lily pads with frogs representing the three organizations that collaborated to make this happen; the Westchester (NY) County Chapter of the LINKS Inc, the Clay Art Center, and the Wartburg.

The project has had a wonderful impact on not only the Wartburg residents, but also on the volunteers who assisted the residents. To quote Earlene Cox, “The Going with the Flow mosaic bench  is a permanent art installation which demonstrates the powerful results that these residents were able to achieve over the 9 months that they worked to create the tiles for the bench. It has been a privilege to work with the Wartburg and the Clay Art Center to produce this beautiful work of Art.”

We would like to thank Earlene Cox for her vision and unwavering dedication to this program and project. A special thanks to Angela Ciminello, Sarah Fertig and all the faculty at the Wartburg for their support. An additional thanks to the Community arts team at CAC for their instruction and help in firing all the tiny pieces!

Woodland Mosaic Benches

Created with youth from The Family Coachman Center

Located at the Bryant Mamaroneck park and Jack Harrington Greenway in White Plains, NY

Two mosaic benches were created in partnership with the Family Coachman Center, and White Plains Parks and Recreation, to beautify the wooded area’s of White Plains, NY. Working in our satellite studio’s located at ArtsWestchester, CAC has provided therapeutic arts enrichment classes for youths of Westchester County’s largest transitional homeless shelter. Typical classes are project based, and utilize the power of metaphor to help youths express emotions non-verbally, through the arts.

The two mosaic bench projects also delved into the power of metaphor, focusing on the cycle of life, throughout the four seasons. Students discussed the trials and tribulations that a young fox cub might endure while growing into maturity, making the expression of their own experiences, safe and healing.

We would like to thank a generous anonymous donor for their continued support of this program, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, for their help in funding this program and project. We would also like to thank Amaco for their generous donation of Velvet underglazes. As always we would like to thank the many members of the CAC Community Arts teams, for their help in organizing, teaching, and installing the mosaic benches. Last, but not least we would like to thank Wayne Bass and all members of the White Plains Parks and recreation Department for their help in making this project possible.

Edgewood Elementary 100th Anniversary Mosaic

Created with all 400 students at Edegwood Elementary School

Located in Scarsdale, NY

Following a Scarsdale School District teacher training held at Clay Art Center, Edgewood Elementary art teacher Matthew FitzPatrick commissioned Clay Art Center to create a mosaic mural to commemorate the school’s 100th anniversary. Teaching artists Vicky Youngman and Regina Farrell held in-school residencies with all 400 students at the school, creating all elements, including the 39 flags, which represent all the nationalities at the school.

The students had a strong voice in the concept of the mosaic imagery, which was reviewed and approved by the school’s student council. The entire school partook in a vote to choose the books that are represented in the final imagery.

The mosaic was installed over a period of two weeks with the help of the Scarsdale Maintenance Department and Community Arts team members. We would like to thank the Edgewood Administration for their encouragement and support, and the entire Community Arts team.


Kelly O'SullivanComment