When Crossroads Arts Council held some of its first meetings in the spring of 2015, its members decided that one of their first projects would be a volunteer-created mosaic mural for Wentzville’s aquatic park.
The original idea for the mosaic came from Wentzville Director of Parks and Recreation Mike Lueck. CAC members Peggy Meyer and Twig Loughry suggested painting murals on some blank concrete walls at Splash Station, but Lueck suggested a mosaic instead.
Loughry set to work on the concept and began on a piece of the mosaic for practice. That “practice piece,” a frog, became part of the final design.
To raise awareness about the project, CAC set up a booth at Wentzville’s first Octoberfest, where dozens of festival visitors decorated the clay fish, turtles, and other aquatic creatures that would be incorporated into the overall design.
Since then, CAC members and volunteers have logged thousands of hours in a ceramics studio, adding to the more than 100 pieces created at Octoberfest. The organization didn’t actively recruit volunteers, but word of mouth and an open invitation helped bring them in.
“Beyond our own members, we’ve had friends of members, members of other organizations, local quilters, members of garden clubs, business owners, workers from the Parks Department, high school and college students, grandmothers and their grandchildren, and aldermen and their children,” said Diane Ransom, CAC president.
“I think that most of the people who have joined us had a curiosity about how the mosaic was made because most of them had not done anything like this before,” Ransom said. ” They were all creative at some level, whether that was as a gardener, a seamstress, or an artist in some other media. A curious mind and a creative spirit got them there, the camaraderie of working to create something together kept them coming back.”
Ransom said that the work has been a positive experience for herself and the many volunteers. “Every one leaves knowing we have worked in the spirit of creating something together. There’s no talk of any of the divisive headlines that we see every day, there’s a lot of laughter and teaching and learning going on around the tables.”
The final pieces of the aquatic-themed mosaic are now being glazed and fired. After that, all that’s left is the installation of the artwork on a curved concrete wall at Splash Station. Parks Department staffer Amy Hays said funds have been budgeted and the department has just began the process of finding a professional installer.
Both the Parks Department and the Crossroads Arts Council hope the work will be completed before the aquatic park opens for the 2018 season.