Unified fragments: Teens create mosaic at St. Paul’s Hancock Recreation Center


The teen mosaic artists at work on a mural at “The Canvas”, a teen art center located in Hancock Recreation Center in St. Paul, are themselves a metaphor for a mosaic.  Coming from different ethnic backgrounds , schools and parts of Ramsey County, these young people were assembled together through ArtScope, a new COMPAS program for ages 13-18 that began this summer. 

“Using millions of pieces of glass, the artists made sure each one mattered and belonged to a larger idea.”                                                                                                                                                 

Matthew Krieder, “Tweetspeak”


Participants in the ArtScope program worked alongside professional artists, learning not only techniques, but also about careers in the arts.  They developed skills in writing cover letters and resumes and preparing to interview for a job.  Through goal setting sessions and guest speakers they also became aware of community resources available to them, how to use public transportation and other skills to achieve their goals.

Lori Greene (photo by Marcie Stein)

Mosaic artist Lori Greene, (owner of Mosaic On A Stick) was chosen as designer and mentor for this project. She said:


“… the figure in this piece represents the diversity of our community…. I am very interested in patterns and how they are used in different cultures… the same shapes and colors meaning the same things…life force, fertility, abundance, new life and death.”


On Thursday, August 24, before presenting the mosaic to the community, Molly, Gabrielle, Tyler, Evelina and Julia, mosaic creators, spoke about their experiences. 


“The first days in Lori’s shop where we cut the pieces were a bit awkward for me”, said Evelina, “as time went on we were more comfortable with each other and laughed a lot.  “ We cut the tiles using cardboard templates that Lori had made, I was not sure how this all would come together.” Molly a fellow worker remarked.  Tyler stood back gazing at the mosaic and chimed in, “ I had to get up early, work really hard, but it was fun and I hope to do another project next summer.   Lori has invited us all to come back and work on our own ideas at her shop.” 

During the hundreds of hours it took to piece the mosaic together on site, neighbors and passers-by stopped to admire it and compliment the crew on their hard work.   Now as parents, friends and neighbors assembled to celebrate its completion, music blared, the sun glinted off the mosaic’s surface and Lori Greene’s words echoed over the din. 

“The project was really wonderful…the kids were exceptional, really motivated, determined and trusting of the process. …It was a great honor to have that time with them. …Thanks to all the great staff at The Canvas and COMPAS.”




Teens creating the mural during summer ArtScope program (slide show photos courtesy of COMPAS)

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