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Published: Tuesday, 8/7/2012

Glass mosaic to grace Waterville library


With thousands of pieces of colorful glass, Waterville-area residents in the coming weeks will create a permanent art display for the library.

Waterville artist Alison Quinn, 23, a recent graduate of Ohio University, has been selected as the illustrator for the community-based, glass mosaic project being organized by the Waterville Area Arts Council.

Residents will be invited to participate in making the 13-by-6-foot mural that will be displayed at the Waterville branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

Mosaic artist Gail Christofferson, who lives near Bowling Green, will lead the community art sessions in September and October.

Ms. Quinn's illustration, selected from a large field of entries, represents how reading opens up the world to people.

Ms. Quinn, who has received a number of awards for her design work and photography, said on Monday she looks forward to seeing her illustration come to life as residents piece together the mural.

A graduate of St. Ursula Academy, Ms. Quinn spent many Saturday mornings during her childhood exploring the Waterville library where books offer an array of opportunities to open an adventure. "My illustration is designed to show the love of reading for all ages," she said.

Lisa Exner, Waterville Area Arts Council president, said the mural is a "great way to draw the community together, young and old, to take part in a project. It will be beautiful when it is done. It will contribute to the library and the whole community."

Now in its second year, the arts council provides a variety of activities, and "we are continuing to grow that," she said.

The arts council was looking for a new project when it came up with the idea of a community mural, said Ms. Exner, who is familiar with Ms. Christofferson's mosaic mural projects, including one in the Otsego school district.

The arts council approached Ms. Christofferson about a community project, and then the arts council was contacted by the library because it was looking for some new artwork, Ms. Exner said. Both entities working together on a community mural is a perfect fit, she said.

Community sessions allowing residents to work on the mosaic will be held in the library, and possibly at a retirement community, as well as Ms. Exner's Silver Lining Gallery in Waterville.

Ms. Christofferson guided the design of the illustration for the Otsego project, but for the Waterville project, the arts council put out an extensive call for artists, she said, noting Ms. Quinn's name wasn't revealed until after the selection process was finished.

"It was awesome when we found out the illustrator was a Waterville resident. That was icing on the cake," Ms. Christofferson said.

Friends of the Waterville Library made the final selection of the design.

The Otsego mosaic mural, completed in June, not only produced a permanent art display for the district's new elementary school, but helped build good will in communities that had been divided by the closing of three neighborhood schools.

Community-based art projects appeal to residents who get a sense of ownership of a permanent art installation, Ms. Christofferson said.

The Waterville arts council is coordinating the new mural project free of charge; material costs and other expenses are being covered by the Library Legacy Foundation of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.

A schedule of dates, times, and locations for the community artwork sessions will be released soon.

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