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 Student-Created Mosaic Shines on Linda Vista Campus

It's not every day that an individual gets to have their artwork immortalized on the walls of a nearly 60-year-old building, but that's what 12 students from SDCOE's South County Community School can now proudly claim.

As part of the A Reason to Survive (ARTS) program, students worked collaboratively with Rob Tobin, teaching artist at ARTS, to create a 40-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall mosaic that now hangs at SDCOE's main campus. It's the first student-created art installed there since 1976.

"It was fun to learn more about art and how to put things together," said 10th-grader Marco. "It feels good to know that other people will see my artwork."

The mosaic was unveiled May 30 in a ceremony attended by the students, Tobin, County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold, ARTS Executive Director James Halliday, and SDCOE employees.

Watch the mosaic being installed.

The equity-in-education-themed mosaic features coupled hands rising from a book, surrounded by flowers and round tiles. According to Tobin, the hands represent unity, growth, and open-mindedness while the book signifies knowledge and education. The round tiles were included to complement the existing artwork on the campus. 

The mosaic is made from glass and ceramic tile mounted to cement board, which was then mounted to painted exterior-grade plywood with bolts, brackets, and pressure-treated lumber. All of this was secured by bolts to the building.

Students collaborated on the theme for the piece and 11th-grader Itzel sketched the drawing Tobin used to design and create the mosaic.

Itzel said the experience has been memorable and is something she can look back on and be proud of.

As part of the art class, students learned about concepts and color combinations. They worked on their own mosaics before working together on the final project, which was completed in April. Over the course of the project, which started in December 2018, 12 students had a hand in creating the mural and seven of those worked on the project from start to finish. The students included Brandon, Cassandra, Itzel, Jenny, Kentry, Marcel, Marco, Rolando, Selena, Sherlin, Stephanie, and Yaseli.

South County Community School Independent Study Teacher Mark Starr, who served as project advisor, said the experience has empowered students to find their creative voices. He noted one student in particular was much more communicative with her peers after the project.

The collaboration with ARTS is part of SDCOE's Juvenile Court and Community Schools' (JCCS) Local Control and Accountability Plan goal to increase course offerings in arts for its students. Amanda Wallace, JCCS project coordinator, helped bring the ARTS project to JCCS and was instrumental in getting the finished project installed on the Linda Vista campus.

Starr said that a second project is already in the works. Students recently met with Tobin to discuss concepts for the next mosaic, which will be installed at the South County Regional Education Center.