Mt. Washington Arboretum Mosaic Entryway
Baltimore, Maryland.

Tucked away in a hidden corner of the Mt. Washington community is its beloved arboretum. A thin strip of land running alongside the Western Run stream, it was almost unbelievably once covered by an apartment building. Now a verdant jewel home to hundreds of species of plants and trees, the arboretum is a favorite place to walk, picnic, learn, or birdwatch.

The Arboretum’s mosaic pillars are “sisters” to those at Mt. Washington Elementary School just a block away. They feature the children’s beautiful ceramic flora, fauna and other flights of fancy that are also found on the school’s pillars. However, whereas the school’s mosaics were applied directly to the pillars, an indirect method of mosaic application was used here given the challenges of the site and the substrate.

Many hands helped to bring this project to fruition, including an energetic group of community artists and AmeriCorps volunteers who visited my studio to assist for a day. They helped “flip” the pieces onto boards “scratched” with mortar, proving the old adage that many hands make light work. Other neighborhood residents came to assist during the long days of work, or visited to check on progress. Special thanks to Tim Goss, Sarah Mandala and Hope Cucina for installation assistance.