After years of envisioning an outdoor mosaic, Stacia Goodman Mosaics finally installed its first exterior mosaic art this past summer. Introducing: Origami Bird in Flight. The mosaic public artwork is located at a bustle intersection in the “downtown” Bryn Mawr Neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since I’m a Minneapolis-based mosaic artist, this project was conveniently just a few miles from my studio.
The Bryn Mawr Neighborhood Association (BMNA) funded the public art mosaic. Each year, BMNA invests in a community project. They put out a call for proposals, and then select the best one. Previous projects have included a rain garden, free little library, and bee pollination station. I decided, “Why not public art?” So I presented a proposal for a weatherproof mosaic public art mural.
Siting the Work
Public art first requires site approval. In my proposal, I targeted two possible exterior building wall locations in the neighborhood. If selected for the project, I would have to secure approval for one of the two walls from the building’s owner. If I couldn’t get approval, the project would be in jeopardy.
Thankfully, the first choice wall was approved. The owner of the Bryn Mawr Market said he’d be honored for my artwork to grace his building. Big relief! I also made sure to get his approval on the design. NOTE: The mosaic is secured to the building with cement screws, so the artwork is removable, if ever needed.
When possible, I try to involve future viewers of the artwork in the process. I identified five areas for community involvement:
Using The Bugle, the BMNA newspaper, to announce the project and report on its progress.
Having the BMNA board contact key community members and ask for their design ideas – imagery, colors, tone, etc.
Creating two full-color designs for BMNA to display at its annual meeting; attendees voted on their design preference.
Inviting the community to a grand unveil celebration with food and drinks.
Challenging my Twin Cities social media followers to take selfies “launching” the bird (I’ve had a few takers.), and thus, driving business to the neighborhood.
Though the budget was quite modest, I’m skilled at giving clients the most – and best – art for their investment. Because this mosaic would be on the exterior of a building, getting scale right was critical. I had to go as large as my budget would allow, yet still cover design concepting, design renderings, materials (backer board, glass, mirror, grout, hardware and fabrication.) BMNA agreed to pay for professional installation by SignMinds, a Minneapolis sign-install company, via bucket lift.
On a perfectly clear day in late July, we installed Origami Bird in Flight. It went up without a hitch. Though the mosaic is partially blocked by a leafy tree in the summer, the vibrant artwork will provide cheery color in the drab, snowy winter months of the Upper Midwest.
If you know a great spot for an exterior mosaic, contact me. Let’s bring art to the people!