Building Beauty in the World: Methods, Motivations and Impact 

Mosaic Mural Making and Community-Based Practice

This is a new, hybrid class I developed in response to people wanting to get the lessons from both my professional-level Mosaic Mural Making Intensive, as well as strategies for working with community that iI teach in my Global Mosaic Project Facilitator Training Workshop. Both workshops are multiple-day intensives including seminar and hands-on elements.  I have added in some time for discussion around the subject of creating public art, or Building Beauty in the World, and what that means to us as makers and what it means to viewers and project participants. These topics have become very significant to me and I look forward to sharing ideas about what it means to do the work we do.

I think the Building Beauty workshop will be a great one and I look forward to hosting a group of you in my New Orleans studio. New Orleans is a culturally rich city with much to offer in terms of inspiration and activities outside of the workshop. Our time together will include an evening of Pecha Kucha style sharing, where workshop participants can share the work they are doing with the rest of the class, at least one group dinner andother optional activities.

As with many of my upcoming intensives, this workshop will be part invitational and part open enrollment. I think a mixture of past and new students adds to a rich learning environment. 

It will very helpful for participants to have had some previous experience with ceramic tile mosaic, although I am willing to talk to potential students personally about their experience level as it relates to the workshop. 

Workshop description

This newly designed course will focus on methods, motivations and impacts of creating work in the public sphere. 

Combining technical best practices for mosaic mural making and facilitating group projects with philosophy and discourse, this workshop offers multiple perspectives on fostering creative expression through collective making.

Community-based public art is at intersection if art and social change.The power of co-creation is extremely effective in addressing issues of community and personal well-being, environmental beautification and in mitigating grief and hardship.

Join me in my New Orleans studio, and on the street for hands-on exercises, lecture and presentations that will address techniques for creating community-based and public projects, including everyday people, and creating sustainable models for ongoing projects and programs that continue to have a positive impact on social and economic development. 

The Building Beauty workshop combines important elements from my professional mural making intensive and from my facilitator training workshops. Workshop participants will create a mosaic mural off-site as part of a professional team, which will be installed on an exterior wall in New Orleans. Workshop content will expand on lessons of public mosaic making, as students surround the central mural element, created in the studio, with direct mosaic setting, using techniques that they can easily pass on to others in the context of a community project.

What is so powerful about being a part of something larger than ourselves? 

How do we facilitate and foster this type of creative work in the world? 

What motivates us to build beauty in the world, and why does it matter?

How do these processes affect artist/facilitators and those spearheading community work? How can we measure the impact of creative work?

We will explore these questions and more through salon-style discussions and share idea about how these questions affect what we do and how we do it.


Workshop lessons include:

  • Defining project goals and objectives 
  • Budget creation and project funding
  • Designing for specific locations, clients and/ or participant engagement
  • Selecting, sourcing and processing materials for projects of all sizes and budgets
  • Sourcing project locations, wall preparation and permissions
  • Various methods of design transfer, mapping and coding for large-scale projects
  • Strategies for planning and managing successful projects 
  • Use of ceramic tile, mirror and recycled materials 
  • Precision cutting and setting techniques appropriate to specific projects
  • Training project participants in mosaic techniques (classroom and street training)
  • Best practices for technical construction methods for outdoor, public projects 
  • Approaches to community outreach, design development and recruiting project participants.   

Students will come away from this fun and informative workshop with the knowledge, skills and confidence to create successful permanent projects that engage and inspire community.  This class will be of particular benefit to mosaic artists who would like to add a community component to their work, teachers, community organizers and anyone interested in community development, neighborhood beautification or entrepreneurial training through the arts.  

Students have the option to participate in informal group activities during the 6 day workshop, including dinners, sightseeing and cultural activities (not included in the cost of workshop). These are fun times to relax together, digest the material offered in class and a great way to spend time in community with fellow students. 

Visitor Information and links to nearby and recommended accommodations.