As a kid, I loved creating all kinds of art. I painted, knit, embroidered, and made quilts. Since becoming an adult, my artistic ventures have been much more limited, and basically ended after I spent 20 hours creating a Halloween costume for my daughter.
While I haven’t been that personally involved in creating art recently, my belief in the power of art has greatly increased, and through my job I have written numerous grants to bring artists in to work with community seniors. I’ve seen many people beam with pleasure as they learned a new way to express themselves. But of all the projects I’ve worked on, the most gratifying one has to be the 100 square foot mosaic that we built at Southwest Senior Center in 2008. Thanks to that project, I learned that I could be part of creating a beautiful, enduring piece of art. It was amazing to see people of all ages working together to figure out just the right way to make the mosaic pieces fit together. It was fun to work on it, and it has been even more fun to see it everyday when I arrive at work. I often meet people in the parking lot who worked on the mosaic who are bringing family and friends to see it.
The Southwest Community Mosaic brought together over 120 volunteers of all ages who helped to develop the themes and images and who spent more than 500 hours assembling it over a series of twelve building workshops. Thanks to an Innovative Graffiti Prevention Micro Grant from the City of Minneapolis and a grant from the Calhoun Area Residents Action Group, CARAG, the Center will be sponsoring another mosaic project this fall. This news mosaic will be installed on an exterior wall at 3200 Bryant Avenue South at Bryant Avenue Market, which has been the frequent victim of taggers and which sits kitty-corner from Bryant Square Park.
The project kicks off with a neighborhood brainstorming session to help determine the focus and theme of the mosaic on Tuesday, August 23 at 7 pm at the Center and a building workshop on Saturday, September 17 at 9 am. There will be nine additional building workshops in September and October.
Sharra Frank, a Minneapolis mosaic artist, will create the design based on community input and will then outline the mural on mesh. Volunteers will work together at the building workshops to fill in the design with mosaic tile pieces. These will then be assembled and adhered to the side of the building by the artist.
The Center is encouraging community members of all ages to take part in this project by helping to design and build the mural. It is a unique opportunity to participate in an intergenerational art project that will improve the neighborhood. Participants can come as often as they are able. Youth groups are welcome to participate, but should call me ahead of the workshop they would like to attend to work out the details. Workshops take place a the Center, which is located at 3612 Bryant Avenue S. To receive a complete schedule of the workshops or for more information, contact me at 612-822-3194 or email@example.com.
About Southwest Center
Southwest Center, a program of Volunteers of America – MN, serves the neighboring Minneapolis community through a wide variety of programs, services and volunteer opportunities that support the health and independence of older adults. The Center strives to be a welcoming environment where seniors feel comfortable socializing and learning ways to enhance their physical and mental health. Southwest’s current programs and services include health and nutrition programs, including senior dining; exercise classes; health screenings, diabetes club; presentations on assorted wellness topics; a variety of educational and cultural events; volunteer opportunities; caregiver support services, social work services for Medicare, housing, financial and legal issues; and “DayElders” adult day service.