The Sense of Place – ceramic mural at Linn County Community Services Building, Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

Submitted by Sonata Kazimieraitiene

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Client: Public Art Commission of Linn County

Location: Cedar Rapids, IA, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $38,000

Project Team

Design, fabrication, installation

Sonata Kazimieraitiene

MANOTILES

Commissioning artwork and reviewing the design and maintenance of artwork

Public Art Commission of Linn County, IA

Overview

Two story high ceramic mural created with the community. It becomes a focal point of the Community Services Building not only because of the impressive scale (18′ x 26′) but, also because of visual impact and emotionally charged story. After being selected from 700 applicants, the artist Sonata Kazimieraitiene, spent 4 months as an Artist in Residence and worked with local residents to create this mural. Most of the participants were people with disabilities and each of them, based on their ability level, hand sculpted and decorated an individual tile. Each tile was a personal story about individual’s likes, dislikes, memories and dreams. When assembled into one art installation it became a powerful collective story, which created a sense of place and enriched the space in multiple ways.

Goals

Public Art Commission was seeking for an artist to create a public art installation for newly build Linn County Community Services building. One of the requirements for the artist was to find the way to include Day Habilitation Center clients (adults with disabilities) into the creative process.

Process

This mosaic was created during the 4 months residency and involved 250 participants - Options Day Habilitation Center clients and staff members. Each participant was asked to create a ceramic clay tile and express his/hers feelings about the place they live in. Each tile measured 6"x6" and corresponded to 1square mile of the area. Later tiles were assembled into areal map of Linn county.