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  • Help Celebrate the Unveiling of Worcester's Community Mosaic

    WORCESTER, MASS., August 17, 2000 - More than 1,000 volunteers and dozens of community groups helped make history this summer by putting together the pieces of Worcester's Community Mosaic, a large-scale, outdoor mosaic created by and for members of the Worcester community. You can help celebrate the contributions of these artisans at the unveiling of the mammoth mural on Saturday, September 16, at 3 p.m., at the Lancaster Street entrance of the Worcester Art Museum.

    In order to design the mosaic, San Diego-based artist Kim Emerson met with individuals and community organizations to discuss their ideas and thoughts about "community" and "Worcester." Many of the suggestions that Emerson gathered are seen in the final design of Worcester's Community Mosaic. These include a triple-decker; books to represent the city's intellectual life; the four seasons; a rocket to symbolize Robert Goddard's contributions to modern rocketry and Worcester's contribution to the space industry; a heart to represent Worcester as the center of the Commonwealth; and other references to the city and its citizens.

    To prepare the hundreds of mosaic pieces needed to complete the 45-foot-long mural, volunteers met at the Museum to cut colorful porcelain tiles on a tile saw, wash them, and then organize them according to color and shape. In the meantime, Emerson transferred her elaborate design onto 14 Durarock panels, each measuring three-feet wide by five feet tall.

    Under the direction of Emerson and two local mosaic apprentices (Lesley Baird and Hillary Sloate), community groups began working on July 10 to create the panels at sites throughout Worcester. Each week, two to four community groups were involved in completing a portion of the mosaic. On August 18, the last panel was completed. Concurrently, hundreds of individuals painted three-inch-square ceramic tiles at the Museum and various community sites. After the squares are fired in kilns at the Worcester Center for Crafts, they will be installed around the perimeter of the 14 panels to create a classical "Greek key " border. Volunteers will grout the mural during the last week of August. It will be officially unveiled on September 16 during a day of free activities that begin at 10 a.m.

    The creation of Worcester's Community Mosaic would not have been possible without the help of hundreds of individuals. The following community groups had a hand in creating this historical project: AIDS Project Worcester; Arts Worcester; Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Worcester; Black FBI; Centro las Americas; Fallon Healthcare; Italian American Society; Office of Elder Affairs; Quinsigamond Community College; the Antioch Association of Worcester; Worcester Community Schools (at May Street, Elm Park, Union Hill and Clark Street); and YouthNet. In addition, a dozen community groups, including CASA; Friendly House; Rainbow Childcare; Worcester elected officials and City Hall employees; and hundreds of other friends of the Museum and community members helped paint border tiles.

    This project is the first in a series of public programs to be held jointly with the Museum's landmark exhibition, Antioch: The Lost Ancient City, which opens October 8. Like Worcester today, the ancient metropolis of Antioch was a melting pot of many cultures and faiths. In many ways, Antioch mirrors Worcester and other cities of the 21st century in the diversity of its people, the textures of its culture, and the complexity of its intellectual and spiritual life.

    Worcester's Community Mosaic is sponsored by Fallon Foundation and supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and the Worcester Cultural Commission, a local agency supported by the Mass. Cultural Council, a state agency.

    Admission to the Worcester Art Museum is free all day on Saturday, September 16. We hope you'll stop by and enjoy the following exhibition opening and events:

    10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Opening of Insight: Women's Photographs from the George Eastman House Collection - Appreciate the diversity and remarkable accomplishments of women photographers in this exhibition of more than 50 works from one of America's foremost photography collections.

    12 p.m. - 4 p.m. Salisbury Street Sampler - Tour the Worcester Art Museum, American Antiquarian Society, Salisbury Mansion, and 13 other Salisbury Street cultural institutions participating in this annual event.

    1 p.m. Dedication of Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Discovery Gallery - Be part of the opening of the new Discovery Gallery, a space where you can discover the nature of looking at, interpreting, and creating art.

    3 p.m. Unveiling of Worcester's Community Mosaic - Celebrate this mammoth creative undertaking and honor the artistic contributions of more than 1,000 friends ands neighbors.

    Museum Background

    Opened to the public in 1898, the Worcester Art Museum is the second largest art museum in New England. Its exceptional 35,000-piece collection of paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, prints and drawings is displayed in 36 galleries and spans 5,000 years of art and culture, ranging from Egyptian antiquities and Roman mosaics to Impressionist paintings and contemporary art. Throughout its first century, the Worcester Art Museum proved itself a pioneer: the first American museum to purchase work by Claude Monet (1910) and Paul Gauguin (1921); the first museum to bring a medieval building to America (1927); a sponsor of the first major excavation at Antioch, one of the four great cities of ancient Rome (1932); the first museum to create an Art All-State program for high school artists (1987); the originator of the first exhibition of Dutch master Judith Leyster (1993); and the first museum to focus its contemporary art programs on art of the last 10 years (1998). The Museum's hours are: Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-5pm. Admission: FREE for members; Non-members: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors and full-time college students with current ID; FREE for youth 17 and under; FREE for everyone Saturday mornings 10am-noon sponsored by The TJX Companies and Massachusetts Electric Company. For more information, call (508) 799-4406 or visit the Museum at 55 Salisbury Street in Worcester.