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Irvington Peace Park Entrance [Summer 07]

Working with a richly diverse group of people from Irvington and beyond, I facilitated a mosaic process for an entryway into the Peace Park at Potter and Collins. This vacant lot was wrested from the drug trade and has been lovingly tended for years by Michael Sarbannes and Jill Wrigley, and many of their young neighbors. From babes in arms and toddlers to children, teens and young-at-heart adults, we met throughout the summer to explore themes of peace and respect. Each meeting began with a circle, speakers sharing their days and their thoughts when the Talking Stick passed to them. We studied symbolism from many cultures, creatively brainstormed with mandalas, and gradually, design ideas began to emerge. Our mosaic workshop in the basement of nearby St. James Episcopal Church was buzzing with collaboration until the dedication of the completed entryway on October 13, 2007.

Mt. Washington Elementary School [2005-2007]

Playground Envisioning and Organizing Project. A visionary and energetic Parent-Teacher Organization at this city public school in the heart of the Mt. Washington neighborhood needed help when its playground equipment was deemed unsafe. I worked with the PTO to help craft a successful initial fundraising and planning process for re-envisioning the space. Over the period of a year, we engaged the entire school community in community arts workshops to design a new space. Students, teachers, parents, the administration, and community members all drew, painted and sculpted their way through visions of a vital outdoor space. My summary report Big Dreams and Wide-Open Visions: A Synthesis of Ideas for Rejuvenating Mt. Washington Elementary School’s Old Playground was used to inform the landscape architects and planners in the final design. As of late 2007, the final plans have been drawn, the PTO is completing its fundraising campaign, and will soon bid out the project. The project was greatly inspired by the artwork and by the sentiments of the children: “Anybody can imagine a park –a whole park of whatever anyone can imagine”. (Daniel, age 6)


The Christian Temple Church in Catonsville, MD has a long tradition of providing youth in the congregation and neighborhood with creative experiences in the summer. KALEIDOSCOPE! is a nonsectarian camp that is held at the church each summer. Its goal is to utilize the visual and performing arts to further cooperation, acceptance and tolerance among children while offering lots of artistic freedom. It culminates with a community festival to showcase what is learned and accomplished during camp. Many of the church’s families assist in putting on a musical, complete with props and sets, and in offering lots of freedom for artistic expression. I worked with KALEIDOSCOPE!'s stellar director Pat LaFon to create a mosaic workshop for 11 middle school youth that would challenge them to explore issues of personal identity via their own cultural lens and those of several native cultures. The results were spectacular! Every youth chose personal motifs for self expression that were then adapted to the mosaic medium with stunning results.

Art in Every Direction [02-03]

Expanding the Scope of Cultural Programming for Children in the Mount Vernon Cultural District is a conceptual model project created for the Cultural District as a means to involve children who live, go to or visit Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Cultural District, which houses the Walters Art Museum, the Central Library, and the Peabody Conservancy among many others. The plan is designed to provide arts and cultural programming to some of the city’s poorest children who live “in the shadows” of these prestigious institutions, including those in a welfare hotel, two orphanages, and several day care centers. It provides the design for sample programming for the cultural partners, and suggestions for linking their resources with surrounding neighborhood organizations – all with an eye toward building bridges, breaking down stereotypes and widening opportunities.

Trash to Treasure Art Car [7/02]

Created with a group of youth of my choice, at the request of the American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore. I facilitated the creation of an art car with nine youth ages10-15 in Hancock, rural Washington County, Maryland. The car was donated to the Tri-State Reuse Center, a non-profit that provides low-cost building materials to low income and senior residents. The youth chose a theme and a visual interpretation of the environmental benefits of reusing materials otherwise destined for landfills. The car will be used by the Reuse center for parades and celebrations. The youth, many of whom had never left their county, traveled with the car to Baltimore to participate in a 60-car “Art Car Parade” as part of the 2002 ArtScape festivities. For some, it was the experience of a lifetime.

Port Street Garden Outdoor Mosaic Gallery, Patterson Place [1/02 - 7/02]

I designed, taught and facilitated a comprehensive mosaic art experience for 18 children living on or near the narrow alley called Port Street. We visited my mosaic studio and made a piece to take home while there. We took a trip to see public art projects created by youth city-wide. We discussed themes and ideas for the walls of the small garden on their block, and spent many sessions drawing their visions that they then translated into mosaic works of art. The children also participated in the two day installation process and helped put their piece on the wall. A community celebration was held afterwards to honor the children.

School Mascot and a Reading Mural [2/02-6/02]

The Legacy Club’s mosaic murals beautify the front of their school, Tench Tilghman Elementary in East Baltimore. I worked with nine 5th graders to realize their vision of a brighter, colorful entrance to their school. They brainstormed the idea, wrote a grant to Youth as Resources Foundation and “commissioned” two drawings by one of their members in order to prepare for the project. The murals greatly enliven a space that is dark, swirling with trash, and otherwise uninviting.

Park School Transformation Mural [1/02]

I led a weeklong intensive mosaic arts workshop for a group of 12 high school students, essentially re-creating my mosaic studio in their classroom, and attempting to replicate an artist’s workshop in which all members of the “guild” learned every aspect of the work, while having the opportunity to “specialize” in one area that they most enjoyed. The resulting mural, installed in the entry way to the school is a mirror image diptych of androgynous figures, one in cool colors, the other in warm. Mirror embedded in the mosaic catch the light and movement in the entryway adding to the dynamism of the design. To date, it is my only project with economically privileged children; juxtaposed with my other community arts projects in the inner city, it was a powerful learning experience.

Consultant to the Maryland Institute College of Art [Spring 02]

Co-designed and managed a pilot project, and mentored MICA students working with elementary school teachers to provide fine arts experiences in the classroom. The “Teachers Transition Team” is the sequel to the Teachers Fine Arts Workshop described below. In this project, fine art students work with the teachers to plan and then carry out projects in the classroom during day school hours, building on skills and confidence that teachers gained in the Teachers Fine Arts Workshop.

Consultant to the Maryland Institute College of Art [Fall 01]

Fine Arts Instructor for the Teachers’ Fine Arts Workshop. Designed, prepared curriculum for, and taught a pilot program for elementary teachers in a school that has been without an art teacher for many years. The goal was to provide non-art teachers the opportunity to experience and gain confidence working with some of the most non-threatening fine arts materials and processes and to explore ways they might integrate art into their curriculum in day school hours.

The Enchanted Forest [7/01-8/01]

Working through the nonprofit Urban Arts Institute, I assisted fourteen 4th and 5th grade children in creating freestanding mosaic trees representing themselves. We explored the notion of special trees in cultures throughout the world, and the children used various media to draw and paint trees in their surroundings. The project was part of the KidsGrow environmental education summer camp held for children in the Franklin Square neighborhood. The trees stand 4 feet high, and incorporate words, symbols and photographs of each child. The Enchanted Forest as a whole toured various venues around Baltimore until late 2002, when each child was given their tree.

Our Community’s Castle Mosaic Installation [6/00-9/00 ]

7' X 5', Tench Tilghman Elementary School, Baltimore. Co-taught a summer arts camp for 4th and 5th graders with the school’s art teacher. The camp enabled children to explore their community, to learn from elders about efforts to revitalize their neighborhood, and to explore ways that their own mosaic art project could contribute to the beautification of their school and community. Children participated in a field trip to visit a working mosaic studio, see other public mural projects throughout the city, and to discuss the role of art in a city’s landscape and its effect on people. Children worked on individual stained glass mosaic pieces that formed windows and doors in their castle design. The remaining castle, with a welded steel armature covered in concrete was then covered in ceramic tile mosaic and mirror. The piece hangs in the playground of the school.

The Blue Throne Sculpture, Kids On The Hill Summer Camp [6/00-9/00]

“If I were king or queen”… Reservoir Hill, Baltimore. As mosaic instructor for a group of 13 children ranging in ages from 9-15 we created a throne for their sculpture garden project. We studied thrones from cultures around the world and discussed them in the context of their artistic power and the power relationships in a society. Each child created their own 10" X 10" symbol of power or representative meaning in a variety of mosaic media from ceramic tile, mirror, marbles, stained glass, keys, and other objects. They were set into the throne -- a welded steel armature around a recycled chair grouted in royal blue.

Southeast Youth Academy Mural Project [8/99-2/00]

Highlandtown, Baltimore. Ceramic tile mosaic, 8' by 4'. Worked with teens to conceptualize, design and install this mosaic mural. The final design is in a banner style; each of its elements symbolizing an important aspect of the teen center for the young people. A tree in the center represents both a sheltering safe space off of the streets and a yin yang representing balance. Silhouettes on the left are dancers with mirror faces atop a book and a diploma; on the right, the SEYA banner, modeled on the Puerto Rican flag, is surrounded by balloons and musical notes signifying good times. The mural is located in an alley behind the center because it leads to a derelict lot which the teens plan to gate and turn into a “secret garden.”

The “Great Walls of Happiness” Murals [3/99-10/99]

General Wolfe Elementary School, Upper Fells Point, Baltimore. A collaborative school and community project. Ceramic tiles with ceramic tile mosaic borders. 2 walls: 10' by 8' and 7' by 8'. Worked with all staff and all students K through 5th grade to fabricate 212 ceramic tiles on the theme of happiness; designed the murals; coordinated installation by two volunteer union bricklayers, and the work of over 60 community volunteers; supervised teenaged “Mosaic Art Crew” in creating mosaic borders around both murals. An art catalogue and a video made by a local teen have resulted, and a neighbor wrote and produced a song that is performed on the video.

The St. Elizabeth’s Garden Project [3/99-5/99]

Baltimore, Md. Recruited, trained and worked with the Southeast Youth Academy “Green Team” to conceptualize and plan a 60' X 25' garden alongside a senior apartment house as a community service project. The teens met and interviewed seniors about their preferences, planted 6 flower beds and 13 flowering shrubs, cut sod and wood chipped a 60 foot path, placed benches and fences. The group maintained the garden throughout the hot, dry summers of 1999 and 2000, and periodically work with the seniors to clean and maintain it.

Mosaic Workshop for Adult Community Volunteers [2/99-3/99 ]

Southeast Baltimore, Md. Recruited 25 adults to participate in a two-part, 6-hour workshop on youth development and the mosaic art technique. This hands-on experience aimed to provide caring adults with the skills necessary to assist teenagers with mosaic art installations and begin building a cadre of adults interested in supporting and acting as advocates of neighborhood youth.

“Starry Night” Community Mural Project [10/98-11/98 ]

Upper Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore. Ceramic tile, mirror glass, and shell mosaic, 6' by 4'. Designed with artist Bryant Smith as a “calling card” we assisted community members of all ages in its fabrication. Located in an alley behind my home, it has received positive feedback from neighbors and resulted in requests for work with other community groups. It is now a “stop” on public art tours of Baltimore that I’ve incorporated into many subsequent projects with youth to enable them to see the artwork of their peers and to realize the role they can play in community development efforts.

Community Fellow, Open Society Institute [10/98-3/00]

Baltimore, Md. Selected as one of 10 from a pool of over 200 applicants for an 18 month fellowship aimed at supporting social entrepreneurs in developing innovative change efforts in community and youth development. Conceived, designed, and implemented The Mosaic Art and Greening Project involving inner city teens in creating public art projects and environmental activities to improve their community and to build their skills and interest in art and the environment. Working through the South East Youth Academy, my sponsoring organization, I initiated “The Green Team” - a group of teens who created and maintained a large garden at a senior center, underwent tree training, planted street trees, and assisted in planting other community projects. I also initiated “The Mosaic Arts Crew”- a group of teens who learned the techniques and became proficient at creating public murals described below.

Art and Community Development Consultant [02]

The Center for Economic and Environmental Development at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania. Worked with faculty to design an interactive presentation on using art as a tool for community revitalization and to conduct a day-long community arts workshop to model the process. Both events were attended by a diverse group of faculty, students, staff, and community members. The program included a tour of the area, office hours with students, and a final report to the CEED on ideas for further implementation.