Hands-On Art Project
Any Given Child Harrisonburg Installs Mosaic in City Hall
Posted: April 21, 2017
By PETE DELEA
Daily News Record
More than 900 Harrisonburg children have left their mark inside City Hall.
On Friday, Any Given Child Harrisonburg unveiled its Faces of Diversity social art project in the lobby of the building at 409 S. Main Street.
The artwork include the thumbprints of every kindergarten and first-grade student in Harrisonburg City Public Schools.
"It's the community's piece," said J.R. Snow, director of Any Given Child Harrisonburg. "It's reall exciting. It's leaving a lasting impression."
Any Given Child Harrisonburg is an initiative whose goals is to ensure all students have access to arts education, and it "encourages students to creatively connect and explore the value, relevance, and impact of the arts,'" according to its website.
Artist Edwin Gil, 45, of Charlotte, arrived in the Friendly City on Sunday and began working on the project Monday morning.
During the week, Gil visited all five of the city's elementary schools to collect thumbprints.
Each school used a different color of paint, and the prints were attached to recycled pieces of glass.
Gil, who moved to the United States in 1998 after fleeing Colombia, used them to create an 8 by 8 foot mosaic.
The thumbprints surround a face that was created by blending three students' faces.
The pieces of glass were taken to the Any Given Child's office in The Hub on West Bruce Street, where Gil went to work creating the artwork.
It was then moved to City Hall, it's permanent home.
Throughout the week, Gil talked to the students about diversity. He said explaining to them that everyone is different might make for a more peaceful community.
"If we put a little seen in their head, it's going to change our society." he said.
Snow said his daughter Olivia, a six year old kindergarten student at Keister Elementary School, got to see the mosaic Thursday night.
As she looked at the artwork searching for her thumbprint, he asked her what she learned from the project.
Her response: "Diversity is different, and different is good."