“Stepping Stones”


Client: University of Toledo

Location: Toledo, OH, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $30,000

Project Team


Cindy Kessler

Kessler Studios, Inc.

Public Art Agent

Ken Emmerick

Ohio Arts Council


Dimensions: 23′ wide; x 11′ tall x 2″ thick – “Stepping Stones”;
12′-6″ wide x 4’6″ tall x 1″ thick – “The Arrival”;


Stepping Stones: The college experience is depicted as a stepping stone path within swirls of excitement of new discoveries. The red/orange/yellow forms represent the many individual stepping stones that together pave the road to success. The graceful blue/green lines offer an overview of the journey, like roads on a map. The lines start on the left with students entering the University of Toledo, then diverge widely on the right as graduates move on to exciting new horizons.

The companion piece, "The Arrival", represents the very beginning of the collegiate journey. It is mounted opposite of the larger mosaic, and serves to alert the passersby that this room contains something special (look around!!). The red forms speak of life experiences prior to entering college. They open wide, sending the student (the blue/green forms) forth to experience the richness that lies ahead, which is the journey represented in the "Stepping Stones" mosaic.


The Kesslers were selected by the University of Toledo using the Ohio Arts Council as facilitators in the commissioning process. The selection committee initially asked that the volumetric space be filled with artwork, but we felt that the large blank wall presented a better opportunity. We proposed the mosaic, "Stepping Stones" for that large empty space. The budget was quite small, so Cindy used the wall itself as a canvas, allowing the design to spread out over a much larger area. The committee liked the idea so much, they procured additional funds from a private donor to add the companion piece, "The Arrival" and task lighting for both. The room is a major walking route between buildings, and the add-on donor wanted folks to see art no matter which direction they were traveling.