Artist Greta McLain reflects on her artist residency as part of the RARE: Richfield Artist Resident Engagement initiative, a joint initiative of Forecast Public Art and the Cornerstone Group, a real estate development group. Working with The Cornerstone Group on a new development in Richfield, McLain spent the summer with community members designing and creating a large-scale mosaic installation for the amphitheater planned for the Lyndale Garden Center. The mosaic will install in 2017.

It’s October. We are sorting broken tiles, sweeping floors, stacking mosaic sandwiches and reflecting on our Richfield Mosaic Studio Adventure. We did it!

We worked with 350 Richfield Residents and community members and created some really rad mosaics! Holler! It’s amazing to read back on the last blog post (from June) and think how far we’ve come. At that time we had no idea how we were going to engage enough people to create anything remotely “community made” for our lofty plans for the Lyndale Garden’s Amphitheater. And here we are, with stacks of mosaics ready to be installed (over 150 sq. ft. of mosaics), and amazing documentation of a summer well spent.

Who made this happen? How did we do it? This is the moment where I give a huge nod to my fantastic mural/mosaic assistants, Claudia Valentino and Jacqui Rosenbush. Jacqui rocked the loads of coordination that was done in-house to reach out to Richfield, to coordinate our “mobile mosaic class/workshop”, and to keep our materials in stock!

And Claudia held down the studio, fearlessly creating organizational systems to bring some semblance of order to the chaotic dance which can be community art making. She also made sure that the doors were always open during community studio hours at the RARE Mosaic studio and put in the loads of extra hours necessary to beautifully complete the mosaic panels, now stacked and ready for their spring install.

Hold on, our interns!

OK, so there was something magical that happened this spring…when we put out an announcement/postcard/facebook post/newspaper article announcing our need for mosaic interns. MAGIC! Somehow, through our studio’s good karma, or who even knows, we ended up with some amazing interns that MADE this project a super success (like we couldn’t have done it without them, like not at all). Beth Betts, Becky Vecoli and Michael Nguyen. AMAZING! So so so many hours of mosaicking in background and of guiding new mosaic hands in the creation of birds, butterflies, turtles and fish to be incorporated in the patterns and different shades of blue that make up the panels. We miss them already!

Install – What comes next?

Ground has been broken (I’m almost positive) at least trees and bushes have been cleared along the lakefront, work is happening and that means…the Amphitheater is coming SOON!!!

We were disappointed when it was made clear that there was no way that amphitheater construction would be complete in time for a 2016 mosaic install. Bummer! But, our indirect mosaic technique is perfect for just this scenario! We have all of our mosaics ready to rock and roll as soon as spring hits and until then, they are perfectly fine waiting to be installed…

PARTIES/UNVEILINGS!… and we are SO looking forward to celebrating the mosaic install with our new RIchfield community in the spring! SO SO SO can’t wait! It’s going to be stunning! Until then, we had a great party at the Artful Nook/Mosaic studio space at Lyndale Gardens with Sha and e.g. marking the end of this phase of art-making with a fantastic art jam! Excited to be growing and learning through the arts in Richfield!

Thank you RARE!! Excited for SPRING INSTALL!!! YAYAYAYA!!!

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.