Mosaic Makers, Inc., 2014 Newsletter

Greetings, friends and colleagues of Mosaic Makers!

We’ve been busy this year, and wanted to share our projects and accomplishments with you.  Photos can be found on our website. This is MM’s 3rd year of creating art with impoverished neighborhoods, people with disabilities, and the nonprofits that serve them.

MM started off the year with a mural at the William S. Baer School, a Baltimore City public school that serves severely disabled children.  The wall mural was created where the children wait for the bus. The designs depict children in wheelchairs and walkers getting on a bus for school.  Thanks to the support and assistance of the wonderful school staff, even the children with the most severe impairments were able to participate in the project.

Our next project was a mural at the John Eager Howard Recreation Center in Reservoir Hill.  We created a jungle mural, designed by the children, which was constructed by kids in the Rec. Center’s after school program.  In April the completed mural was installed on the side of the Rec.

MM visited Roberta’s House, a family grief support center in E. Baltimore.  We conducted workshops for families and teens experiencing trauma from the loss of a loved one.  Our therapeutic art projects included reflective memory bottles, vision boards, and memory trees.

Next, we created an outdoor mural with St. Peter’s Adult Learning Center in W. Baltimore. St. Peter’s serves developmentally disabled adults through jobs and social supports.  The participants designed and constructed a mural to beautify their patio garden.

In April, we worked with adults and teens at Paul’s Place soup kitchen. The teens made homemade lip gloss and soap as we talked about self-care.  The women’s group made mosaic birds representing freedom.

Wolfe Street Academy was our next group. Wolfe Street is a charter school in E. Baltimore with many Spanish and Mixtec speakers (the Mixtec Indians live in central Mexico). The neighborhood association requested our help in designing a large public chalkboard framed in mosaics. The board reads “ Someday I Will” in English and Spanish. The graduating fifth graders designed the border representing their dreams of “Someday I Will”.

In May and early June, we worked with the Girl Scouts of Reservoir Hill.  The local girl scouts chose to beautify a small park to attract neighbors and boost park use. More than 20 scouts and their families worked together to mosaic two tree benches outside the park.

A large mural at Mondawmin Mall was our next project. The mural is located at the intersection of Reisterstown Rd. and Liberty Heights Ave., across from the metro station. Court-involved people supplied community service hours to clear the area of debris and paint the wall. Teens from the neighborhood working in Parks and People’s summer program built the mural, which was commissioned by the Greater Mondawmin Community Council.  The mural, a sunrise, welcomes people to the community.

Woodberry Crossing is a camp that invites city children to their Parkton farm to experience farm life.  This is the second summer that MM orchestrated workshops with children at Woodberry Crossing. This year’s theme was water conversation. The kids completed a mosaic mural of animals that live in the Chesapeake Bay.

Abilities Network is an organization serving families and children with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Staff from their Project Act, a community-oriented program, designed a mural to illustrate their work: families, community, and equality.

The Jewish Museum of Maryland was our next partner. Families visiting the museum over the summer constructed their mural.  The outdoor mural, on Lloyd Street, echoes the history of early Jewish immigrants in Baltimore.

The Choice program is a nonprofit working with teens to avoid their entry into  Juvenile Services.  Sadly, they lost four of their teens to violence this year.  With MM’s help, they designed and built a memorial mosaic at their annual retreat.

Next, MM partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake’s positive pathways program. Over three weeks, their teens worked together on to create a mosaic mural for their office entryway.

The Jubilee Arts program is a magical art studio in the midst of W. Baltimore.  Jubilee offers a variety of arts and dance classes to low-income children and families to keep art alive and present in their community. Beginning in January, MM has taught a weekly crafts class for adults at Jubilee Arts. The class reused materials found in many households to make projects such as mittens made from old sweaters, rag rugs, and paper flowers. For further information: www.jubileearts.org

As social workers and artists, MM’s efforts focused on working with individuals with disabilities, low-income people, and their providers; we join them in the struggle to make positive contributions in local communities.  We look forward to a new year filled with art, wonderful people, and appreciable social change.

Pam Stein & Lauren Siegel
Mosaic Makers, Inc.