Her Gallery Doesn't Need 4 Walls

By Shore Staff
Published Aug 19th, 2009 in Shore Magazine

The City of Benton Harbor, Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment and Water Street Glassworks have teamed up to produce permanent mosaic art for Jean Klock Park. Eight bands of Italian glass tile mosaic art are being created and will be installed on the four corner columns of the old pavilion for residents and visitors to enjoy. The project is funded by Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment and Benton Harbor’s Kellogg Connect Up! Fund.

“The designs and artistic direction are by mosaic artist Leslie Roberts. Two of her studio assistants, Angela Burks and Calvin Hildreth, are working with six of the students in our Fired Up! After-School Teen Glass Program,” states Jerry Catania, Water Street Glassworks co-founder. “This is a very special project for our teen artists who are paid for their long days of intense, painstaking attention to the detail of making mosaic art,” Catania said. The six students are Mika Page, Derrick Atkins, Jr., Eli Zilke, Emma Schaper and Dionna Gray all of Benton Harbor and Alex Greco of Coloma. The project was conceived by Susan Wilczak, a consultant for Harbor Shores.

The Fired Up! After-School Teen Glass Program was selected in April 2009 for a Coming Up Taller! award designating it as one of the Top 50 After-School Art Programs in the Country by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The mosaic designs depict the natural elements of the pavilion’s environment and can be used as a nature walk. Chuck and Kathy Nelson of Sarett Nature Center guided the Glassworks and artist Roberts in identifying the variety of flora and fauna surrounding the site and the creation of eight bands of design followed. Because of the volume of work, volunteers are being invited to aid the students by cutting tiny tiles and by applying tile to the designs themselves. The work will continue through August 24. Installation on the pavilion columns will take place Sunday, September 6. The public is cordially invited to stop by and observe the work at the Glasswork and in Klock Park.

Harbor Shores, a non-profit developer of a new master-planned community, envisions the resort community continuing efforts to revitalize Southwest Michigan by retaining residents and boosting county-wide school enrollments and new job opportunities. This visionary project is a public-private partnership and truly one of a kind in the country.

Located in The Arts District of Benton Harbor, Water Street Glassworks is a Michigan not-for-profit organization with a mission to provide a regional school, studio and gallery dedicated to the medium of glass and offering educational opportunities, studio access and special events. The Glassworks creates partnerships with other educational entities and helps foster community renewal by collaborating with other community arts programs.

Return to Harbor Shores project page

Art has the power to transform community.