Community Harmony Through Song & Play, Panel 1: Music


Community Harmony Through Song & Play, Panel 1: Music, 2001
Ceramic mosaic on wood substrate.
66″ H x 48″ W x 2″ D
Public Art Commission

Panel 1 portrays musical styles which have been cornerstones of the African American culture and experience. The sax man probably plays jazz or blues. The banjo player picks out a country blues or maybe a dance tune. The woman may be singing gospel, though the song could as easily be Motown, blues, or a traditional field holler. The blending of these musics shows how each has grown from the songs before it and also that working together is required to make the music sweet, that respecting heritage gives it depth, that inventiveness and improvisation give it the edge to move on into tomorrow and discover an even better world.One of three mosaics created for Manly Career Academy High School in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. Assisted by Caswell James and advised by veteran muralist Nina Smoot-Cain, I worked with a team of nine community youths to design and produce three mosaic panels totaling 66 sqare feet. Commission sponsored by Chicago Public Art Group with support from Gallery 37 and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.

To read a detailed account of the project, click here.