An exciting project that will add another piece of public art in the community of West Chicago is being planned, and the West Chicago Cultural Arts Commission is hoping to attract the interest and participation of the community.
Buddy Plumlee, artist, resident and Commission member, will be creating a mosaic mural on a cement podium that currently exists in Sesquicentennial Park along a pedestrian path. The podium’s location is especially significant since the Park was dedicated in 1998 as a lasting tribute to the City’s 150th Anniversary and evokes a historic sense of place for those who visit and enjoy it.
Mosaic artistry has a long history dating back several millennia. It is typically a hand-created work made up of fragmented pieces of various materials that together make an image or design. The ancient Minoans, Greeks, Romans and Byzantines employed it prolifically. They created incredibly detailed and beautiful mosaics to decorate the homes of wealthy citizens, and especially the interiors and exteriors of public buildings. The materials used are generally cut pieces of glass, such as smalti or stained glass, stone, porcelain, ceramics, shells, etc.
But it is not limited to these only, as Plumlee explains, “I, for instance, have used metal objects such as keys and hinges, as well as plastic, mirror, marbles, and so on. It is an additive medium where one piece is placed, and then another placed next to it, and another, etc. Mosaic pieces can be tightly rendered or loosely put together. The tighter the mosaic and the more detailed, the longer it takes to make,” he said.
Pieces for consideration in the mosaic will be collected on a designated shelving unit placed at City Hall in the lobby area beginning Monday, August 1, 2016 through the end of the month. Residents are asked to place items in a bag or small box to contain them and prevent breakage when placed on the shelves. Donations may remain anonymous, or the addition of a small notecard containing name, contact information and anything about the significance of the donation may be included in the bag or box along with the item(s). The Commission will use this information to communicate updates of the project, including the announcement of the mosaic’s formal dedication. Plus, this information will be placed on the City’s website related to the project, and become part of the mosaic’s unique character and history. The following lists the types of items being sought:
- Old ceramic or porcelain tiles
- Chinaware, especially pieces that are colorful or that have a design
- Old metal keys, spoons, and forks
- Metal gears (i.e. bicycle gears, clockwork gears etc.)
- Stained glass
- Polished stone
Smaller items are preferred, and should be no larger than a dinner plate, with a limit of 5 donated items per person. If used for the project, donated items will be broken into smaller pieces appropriate for mosaic design. Those items which are not used for this project will be stored for possible use in a future community mosaic mural. No items will be returned.
“It is the Commission’s belief that the proposed mosaic mural, however small in its size, would be a meaningful and beautiful contribution to the City’s Sesquicentennial Park,” said Plumlee. “We are also confident that the project will inspire us to embark upon other larger mosaic mural pieces in the future. These projects should incorporate greater community participation in the actual execution of the work. Such public art projects that involve the community help to deepen our connection to one another, and make more profound our town’s unique identity,” he added.