Art for everyone.
Mosaic
Works in Progress
St. Clements Church
Moonscape
Saratoga Library
Other Public Art Projects


"Students have the capacity to be stirred and their imagination fired by works of art like the one Ceres Zabel helped BOCES graphic arts students to create. Schools are where our future lies - Shouldn't that future include as much beauty as possible?"
- Neil Hannon
Teacher, WSHCE BOCES

Moonscape

Title:
Moonscape Mosaic
Site:
Saratoga County Arts Council, 320 Broadway Ave. Saratoga Springs
Year:
2003
Scale:
3.5 x 4.5 Feet
Artist:
Ceres Zabel
Participants:
BOCES Graphic Technology Students
Sponsors:
SPAF 2003 Artist Grant


Mosaic Description

The artistic work created is a mosaic titled Moonscape, that measures 3˝ x 4˝ feet. Venetian glass tiles were used to compose the design. The artwork organizes its space around a human face which is partially submerged in water. The face overlays an earthscape which lies against a background of sky that depicts day and night. The face with its mask-like features suggest both the ‘arts’ and man’s singular view of his environment. The mask, colorful and beautiful, represents an egocentric mankind; oblivious of both the over fished, polluted ocean that is swallowing him as well as the lifeless earth behind him. The earth, a barren ‘moonscape’ floating in space, also hints a profile of a human head. Behind the clouds shine rays of hope.

Project Summary

Moonscape Mosaic Project was carried out in cooperation with Peter Taylor’s graphics technology class and community artist Ceres Zabel. Funding for the artist was provided through a grant from New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Saratoga Arts Council. Approximately 30 students worked along side the artist to build and exhibit the mosaic. Students in Mr. Hammond’s shop class made the frame for the mosaic. The project began November 17 and culminating with an ‘in house’ exhibit on December 15th. A formal reception was held in June at the Saratoga Arts Council where the mosaic is permanently installed. The goal was to establish a positive connection between the student’s school and their art community.

Project Description

Initially, several public schools received a letter of invitation to facilitate the project. Decision was based partially on the interest communicated by the establishment. Donald F Meyers Center proved best in both its resources and approach. The F. Donald Myers Educational Center collaborated with the artist to build and exhibit the mosaic. A studio was set up in a separate classroom where students could choose to work along side the artist to execute design, or work in their classroom on other assignments. An inset day was scheduled where the artist provided the students with necessary information and instruction in order insure a professional result. An estimated three weeks was needed to carry out the process. During this time, the students engaged themselves with a variety of challenges and real life skills such as group problem solving, effective communication, goal setting, negotiations, and compromising. Under the artist’s guidance, the students were exposed to real commitment and accountability; they took part in presentations, facilitated public relations, provided visual documentation, and helped build the mosaic. Approximately 100 people attended the school exhibit. Included were administrators, professional staff, and students from other classes.

Evaluation

Although the original idea was the artists alone, it was seen as a positive form of expression, and a source of social, artistic, and narrative empowerment for the students. The mosaic makes a visual statement about a real issue in their everyday world; the environment. When reflecting as a group, some students noted with concern that the audience, during the school exhibit, did not ask any questions about the mosaics meaning.

The reflection component is very important to the collaborative creative process and can be accomplished through exhibits. The first reception took place December 16, 2003 directly following the completion of the mosaic. A second, formal reception was held at the Saratoga County Arts Council (SCAC) where the mosaic is permanently installed. The SCAC artist opening reception was smashingly fun. The student film was a great success as it was featured along side the mosaic. Many interesting people attended the show and all were curious about the moonscape mosaic; the process and its meaning. It was exciting to share space with the New York City artists exhibiting in the gallery that night. BOCES students, Hopper and Renee and friends showed up around 6pm and felt comfortable staying most of the evening. They were like sentries for the mosaic and film, making sure it kept looping properly for the gallery audience. The students were thrilled having so many questions directed to them about moonscape mosaic. Arvilla and Maggie showed up later in the evening and they were elegant. They wore their artist name tags and walked confidently around the main gallery viewing the other artworks. The girls spoke openly with the featured artists Jeff Leonard and Ronn Mattia asking about their artistic process how they made their sculptures and resin paintings. It made my evening. Everyone at the Arts Council was excited to see new, young faces in the gallery. The idea that the artistic process can be shared like this thrills me to the bone. Why hog all the glory?

Artist’s Notes

After three weeks of building the mosaic, I offer these random thoughts and thanks to the generous folks that had a hand in this piece of work: Brad for fixing everything and the never ending conversation; Renee for her intense devotion to the sky; Brittany for her social presence; Danielle’s sure and steady hands; Wayne for keeping the girls happy; Steve for the same thing; Marvine for his keen sense of color blending; John, Amy, Kristen, Natissa & Jamie for making us feel like stars with your photos; Caitlin’s bopping in and out to play; Amanda’s eager public relations; Tiffany and Kaylee for their persuasion skills with the guys in woodshop; Steve for the right dimensions; Khylan for his innovative color choices; Mike & Jeremy’s sky, sky, & more sky; Mike K for his photographic good looks; Henry for his awesome cheekbone; Lydia the mixer; Ryan the OK cement man; Maggie the rays of sunshine; Alina blending the browns; Arvilla pulling the landscape together; Lansse for the spit shine at the end; Sean, Nick, James, Kristy, Liz, and Melissa for lugging tiles, sorting tiles, and helping out; Pat H and his students for the great and sturdy frame; and Jim and Peter for being great teachers.