Art students from Elsik High School in the Alief Independent School District have been studying the concept of sacred geometry and recently turned their own geometry designs into mosaic tiles that are incorporated into concrete seat walls along Westchase District’s Brays Bayou Connector Trail.
When Louis Jullien, Westchase District’s projects director, approached local artist Reginald Adams about creating public artwork for the trail involving youth from the community, Adams said mosaics were top of mind.
“In my travels around the globe, I’ve seen some beautiful tile mosaics that have endured for hundreds of years,” he said. “The medium is highly durable and low-maintenance and because mosaics are found throughout the world, I think it speaks to people when they sense a certain cultural transcendence.”
Fifty-four students from grades 10 through 12 each designed a mosaic using a compass and straight edge, drawing seven intersecting rings. “The designs represent geometric shapes that repeat in nature such as seashells, beehives and the iris of an eye,” said Eric Pearson, visual arts department chair at Elsik High School. “The basic pattern was the same, but then each student could resection it and color it as desired.”
Once drawn, Adams brought in custom glass and porcelain pieces for the students to snip and place on mesh squares. The squares were then affixed to the seat wall benches with a thin-set mortar and later grouted. About 27 mosaics decorate each bench.
“The students were really pleased with the project and are excited about the fact that they’ll be able to see their work displayed in the open for a long time to come,” said Pearson. “For them, the project underscored that the elements and principles of design can be found everywhere.”
“The kids seemed excited that their artwork isn’t just going on refrigerators or in a school hallway temporarily, but that it will be enjoyed by tens of thousands of people for decades to come,” Adams said. “I think it feels empowering to them. It’s a form of modern hieroglyphics.”
The tiles are one more example of Westchase District incorporating art into the public spaces along its trails. Murals already adorn the Library Loop Trail and new decorative signs soon will guide and inform trail users. More mosaics are planned to decorate a connection from the BBCT to Harwin Park.