Diving to New Frontiers - CODAworx

Diving to New Frontiers

Submitted by Ryah Christensen

Client: Davis Elementary

Location: Austin, TX, United States

Completion date: 2023

Project Team

art teacher, co - designer and co- project manager

Nicole Garry

art teacher, co - designer, and co-project manager

Pamela Matthews


This 10 x 20′ mosaic underwater scene was created by me, art teachers Nicole Garry and Pamela Matthews, and ALL 700 STUDENTS of Davis Elementary. Originally we were going to merely repair the deteriorating DAVIS signage on the front of the building, but then we got ambitious and decided to create this elaborate, magical water wonderland.


The goal for the project originally was to repair the failing DAVIS signage on the front of the school. When we decided to create this mosaic instead we needed to keep the basic elements of the original signage, which certainly directed the final design, but did not completely dictate that design, as this was a truly collaborative process with many unpredictable elements (student made tiles) that eventually had to be incorporated into the artwork.


First we created a general design framework that would allow for the original DAVIS signage design format to exist within a larger, unpredictable, collaborative mosaic. Once we came up with our general mosaic plan, we organized tile making classes according to grade. the Pre-K and Kindergarten classes made ocean floor pebble tiles, the 1rst and 2nd graders made textured kelp, the 3rd graders made small creatures, the 4th graders worked individually or in teams to make larger (biologiacally accurate) fish, and the 5th graders worked on the giant showstoppers (Big dolphin, Sea turtle, Otter, etc) as whole class collaborations. After all of the tiles were made I assembled them into the larger mosaic and installed it on the front of the school.