I would like to take some time this year to appreciate and tout some amazing tile installations in our world. I thought I would start off with a truly inspiring mural at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach. I first encountered this mural a few years ago while loading in for Art Rock. The texture and complexity of the tile work really grabbed my attention. The mosaic is made up of fragmented pieces of glass, mirror and tile. The pieces of tile are all hand-made and you can feel the love and sense of community vibrating from it.
Some of you may already be familiar with the Armory or lived here while it was being created, I was still in Louisiana so was not in the loop. I have now learned that it was a project done in 2006 to engage the community and as a deterrent to graffiti. Alyx Kellington was the lead on the "WallTogether" project, and about 400 kids helped to make it possible. [i] There was also a second phase, which added 300 square feet and was coordinated by Lesley Davison. It was unveiled in 2008. [ii]
The following video is a great overview of the project:
In the video Ms. Kellington explains that the group that worked on this was of divergent cultures and backgrounds and yet by the end of it they were all friends. She also explains that the mosaic has several languages pressed into the tiles and that art in itself is a universal language to which anyone can respond.[iii] They have certainly succeeded, as it is difficult not to respond positively to this massive wall of vibrant energy.
Additionally, she attributes Isiah Zagar as the inspiration for the overall feel of the mosaic. Isiah Zagar is a mosaic artist who has been creating amazing murals throughout Philadelphia for the past 40 years. He has created Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, a labyrinth of interior and exterior mosaics that takes up half a city block![iv] I can only imagine what it must be like wondering through this magical installation and I am certainly putting it on my bucket list!
The WallTogether project is a very impressive undertaking and really seems to have served its purpose in bringing people closer together, now it stands as a monument to collaboration and is a beacon of inspiration to all those who encounter it. If you haven't seen it, you should check it out during one of the numerous events held at the Armory.
Phase I was funded in part by a grant from the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties in addition to the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation and Publix Super Markets Charities.[i] Phase II of “WallTogether” was made possible by a grant form the Palm Beach Country Club Foundation, The Community Foundation and Rush Philanthropic Foundation and Publix Supermarket Charities. “WallTogether,” a project initially funded by a $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation’s Mosaic Fund was made possible by monies raised during the Palm Beach! America’s International Fine Art & Antique Fair’s 2006 Vernissage. [ii]
[i] Slatkow & Husak Public Relations, Source: Armory Art Center (2006, October 13) Armory Art Center Announces Walltogether Project, from http://www.armoryart.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.details&ArticleId=28&returnTo=main
[ii] Ilene Adams Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Source: Armory Art Center ( 2008, May 8) Armory Art Center Announces the Unveilling of Walltogether - Phase II, from http://www.armoryart.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.
[iii] PalmBeachFilmTV, (2009, October 1) from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzkjWDRtuBQ
[iv] Philadelphia’s Magic Garden (2012) from http://www.phillymagicgardens.org/