Aurora art students complete massive mosaic installation

Aurora MosaicOne of the great joys of the Placeworks Art Initiative is watching a sense of accomplishment develop in not only in students, but in teachers as well. Placeworks is a free, place-based program that brings art to rural schools in an interdisciplinary way, promoting collaboration among subjects and classes.

One of this year’s biggest endeavors has been at Aurora High School, where art teacher Ashley Bolling and her students made it their mission to add some serious color to the school’s hallways. Mission accomplished.

Bolling was kind enough to share her thoughts on the experience with Placeworks leadership:

“I’d never heard of Placeworks before, but when I got an email about an organization that offered field trips and in-school art residencies, I decided to apply. I’d wanted to create some kind of mural or permanent installation since I began working at Aurora, and this seemed like an excellent opportunity. Within a few weeks, I was contacted by Cory and Lillian and we began the initial planning … The plan was to create a permanent mosaic installation, my foundation classes designing impressionistic tiles and my Advanced Art students designing the mosaic as a whole. From October to February we got to work.

“Some things I’ll remember about this time were students gluing mosaic pieces in the dark using the light from their cell phones, their revolving playlist on Spotify, a lot of One Direction and Styx’s “Come Sail Away,” and then eventually having to ban “Come Sail Away.” As we came across challenges, Cory and Lilian were always great about providing insight. They even recruited help from Bruce Anderson, who showed us what materials to use, and also Brian Fiket who showed us how to hang the mosaic securely. It was a large project, bigger than any I’d experienced, but I really wanted to bring color into the school on a monumental level. This was the idea from the start, but it truly represented collaborative art. Before we started, I had an idea and plenty of student help, but it would not have been possible without the guidance and expertise of Placeworks.”

Applications for Placeworks residencies for the Fall 2016 semester will open later this year.