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Young Artists with Big Ideas

The mosaic art form lends itself well to public art projects. This is especially true when the project involves young artists. There are numerous ways for a variety of age-groups and skill-levels to get involved when a mosaic is being planned and installed.

Shore Stories

This group of 22 youth took on an 80 foot wall in August of 2012 and in three weeks created a mosaic mural depicting stories from the area. The piece is aptly titled “Shore Stories” and depicts just that; visual snapshots of the stories, flora, fauna, activities, history and folks that define the Toronto shoreline. People exiting the ferry at the Jack Layton Ferry terminal on Toronto’s waterfront (located in Ontario, Canada) are given the opportunity to connect with the locale by glimpsing story fragments as they pass by a visual feast created by this collection of young artists with big ideas.


Mentored by Toronto mosaic and tile artist, Christina Delago, the group began the work by first mapping out ideas in chalk along the wall before the mosaic work began. In the artist statement on her website Delago says:

“I believe we are all connected, and my goal as an artist has always been to explore that connectedness”.

What unfolded on the Toronto waterfront perfectly illustrate these ideas she holds so dear.

As the weeks progressed many others joined in to support the young artists, cutting tiles and filling in the areas around the detailed circular vignettes that tell the shore stories. Seasoned artists worked shoulder to shoulder with these young emerging creatives. Community members, inspired by what they saw evolving, left notes in a comment book hanging on a chained link fence close by. Some even returned, dressed for work, and joined the effort to complete the mural.

For the youth involved in this project the benefits were many. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a project through from the idea stage to being a completed reality! They were able to experience what it might be like to embrace a career in the arts. They added to their personal artistic skillsets and learned about the ups and downs of working on collaborative projects. Each made a positive contribution to their community and felt the pride of a job well-done.

Pebble Mosaic Project

Another public art installation with a much younger group of artists was chronicled in this documentary video produced by The Big Art People. Eight years ago, children from Southfields Primary School in Coventry worked together to create a series of pebble mosaics that decorated a small amphitheatre on the school grounds. By pressing small pebbles into sand or mortar the children participated in creating a meaningful space for themselves and their school. From sorting pebbles into coloured groupings to the creation of the images themselves; there was a job for everyone involved from the youngest to the eldest. 

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