Local artist Angelica Pozo invites residents who live, work, pray and/or play in Tremont to participate in a Community Ceramic Tile Mural Project this winter and spring. The completed mural will feature historic and popular images of the Tremont neighborhood. It is scheduled to be installed in June on the 2-ft. high by 54-ft. long retaining wall that encircles a quarter of Lincoln Park’s central plaza, near the gazebo.
“I have had the complex and exhilarating experience of working on participatory/collaborative mural projects in all sorts of institutional situations (schools, hospitals…) in communities all over Ohio, and other parts of the country, yet had never had the opportunity to work in my own neighborhood,” Pozo says. “Neighbors would sometimes ask me, ‘How can we get a "Pozo" mural in our own neighborhood?’ I was dying for the chance. So a couple years ago, I started rounding some neighbors up and together with help from TWDC (Tremont West Development Corporation), our neighborhood group, the Tremont Community AIR (Artist in Residence) Program was born. The program was formed with the mission to bring lifelong arts learning and meaningful art making experiences to residents of Tremont, and to help build community through the arts.”
She continues: “We started by engaging our community to decorate small frames that were then sold at Taste of Tremont and Tremont Arts & Cultural Fest in 2014. Then, we also made an arrangement with Christmas Story House to be able to use some of their images in our frames to make a CSH souvenir with 100 percent of proceeds going to the AIR program. This is an ongoing fundraiser, so we hope to continue this community art program beyond this mural project. We hope to continue our partnership with Tremont Gardeners and look for other sites in our neighborhood that could use decorative tile touches that our community can help create. We were able to demonstrate to our potential funders that we rallied some community support and involvement. We put some skin in the game. I felt that was important before starting to apply for grants for the mural project.”
The mural will be made up of larger ceramic tiles painted by neighborhood artists, amateur through professional, including the advanced art class at Tremont Montessori. Pozo hopes to engage as many residents, of all ages and artistic abilities, as possible. These panels will depict images of the Tremont neighborhood, and will be surrounded by approximately 750 smaller, 3 in. by 3 in. ceramic tiles decorated by the rest of the community at sessions throughout the winter. Pozo hopes the mural project will be a catalyst for uniting the diverse neighborhood.
“One of Tremont’s assets, its rich diversity of residents, diverse ethnically, racially and financially, can also be a bit of a handicap at times,” Pozo explains. “Despite all efforts for inclusion, the south side, with its more working class, ethnically mixed residents can at times perceive to feel left out of the activities centered around the more affluent and commercial north section of the neighborhood. The older original residents, senior citizens, of Tremont may feel a bit alien to the young new inhabitants and vice versa. Church patrons living outside of neighborhood but dedicated to their congregation may yet feel another level of separation. The goal of this project is to build bridges between all these diverse groups and unite them behind one goal and one permanent expression of our neighborhood’s creativity. The process of engagement is just as important as the finished product. It will illustrate to all how working together we can achieve great things.”
Pozo has scheduled several Community Tile Decorating Public Sessions throughout February.
From 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2, stop by the backroom of the Treehouse (820 College Ave.). You can show your love for Tremont at the Literary Café’s Valentine’s Day Celebration from 8 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13 (1031 Literary Rd.). From 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24 Grumpy’s Café (2621 W. 14th St.) hosts a Neighborhood Potluck dinner and Tile Decorating Party. The backroom of Prosperity Social Club (1109 Starkweather Ave.) hosts tile decorating on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Additionally, Pozo encourages residents to schedule sessions of tile decorating at her studio through their neighborhood block club; offering residents an opportunity to paint with their neighbors. She’ll also be hosting local church and youth groups for workshops her studio.
“For folks wanting to get involved with other parts of the process there is Art Crew. That might include some prep tasks, decorating extra tile, arranging broken tile mosaic for the top of wall, arranging finished historic and colorful tiles and installation preparation up through the actual installation, which is scheduled for early June.”
The best part is, you’ll be able to visit your creation and recount all your fond, Tremont-filled memories for many years to come. To learn more about the project and how to get involved, email Angelica Pozo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the studio at 216-241-6936.