School Board Discusses Mosaic Wall
The very nature of a mosaic is the inclusion of several different pieces to create one complete work of art. In light of this, the mother of a pair of Emmetsburg students voiced her concerns during Monday’s Board of Education meeting that the mosaic wall project at the new Middle School wasn’t inclusive of all students in the Emmetsburg Community School District.
Kim Campbell addressed the board, “It is my understanding that this year’s fifth and seventh grade students were chosen to have their artwork on the mosaic at the new Middle School. Will this mosaic be changed to reflect the talents and efforts of all students within the district and expanded yearly?”
Campbell wondered if the display would be permanent once completed. She asked whether the criteria for selection would be shared with the students before they began work on their mosaics.
“I feel all students should have the privilege and opportunity to have their work displayed,” said Campbell.
“I’ve had some brief meetings with Karen Ruddy [with the Palo Alto County Arts Council], and she chose the fifth and seventh grade group because that’s the closest to the maximum square footage allowed,” said Superintendent John Joynt. “In fact, it’s a little over, so they reduced their tile sizes from 12 inches to 11 inches to get the 114 mosaic tiles to fit.”
The mosaic wall, with its 114 mosaic tiles, will be 54 feet long and a little over two feet in height with the tiles stacked in two rows.
Joynt shared that he had asked the art teachers if they would be willing to start mosaic projects in their classroom. According to the superintendent, the teachers responded that the seventh graders could possibly do mosaics as an annual project.
“Mr. Kennedy [6-12 art teacher] did express concern about replacing a community project on a yearly basis,” said Joynt. “He said that they’re using some very expensive materials–Venetian smaltes glass–which is $18 to $28 a pound.”
Joynt continued, “Right now, there’s no plans to rotate it, but it could happen.”
He also noted that no taxpayer money is funding the project. The mosaic wall will be paid for through the $9,000 grant awarded to the Palo Alto County Arts Council by the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Corporation.
“I really have no answer, other than the information already presented,” said Joynt.
“I think, Kim, we, as a board, had concerns also,” said Don Hagen, board member. “We would have liked to have seen some of things you’ve talked about. You could take it to the Arts Council and see if there’s support there to help the school afford the materials to do it.”
“You could see if there’s any support from them to do this as a yearly project,” Joynt added.
“Is your concern, Kim, because you feel only the fifth and seventh grades have been chosen?” asked Board President Karla Anderson.
“I do,” said Campbell. “I just think it would be fair to future students of the Emmetsburg School District to have their artwork displayed, as well.”
“I do believe we had that conversation at a board meeting, and I guess I was under the understanding that we were going to do that,” Anderson noted.
The issue was brought to a close, and the board thanked Campbell for attending. In related business, Joynt updated the board on the status of the mosaic wall. He explained that this month, the students are being assisted in designing their mosaics. They are scheduled to begin work on the tiles next month.
“Instead of bussing Catholic School students to our art class–like we do every day–we’ll just bus our kids there,” explained Joynt. “They’ve rented the Parish Center and set out all the materials. They’ll have four or more adults there to help with the project.”