When you look at a concrete wall what do you see? A barricade? A forgotten project? A forlorn surface? Do you even actually notice the wall at all? Artist Kate Hartley did, but she didn’t see it as a hopeless slab of material bringing a depressing vibe to everything around it – she saw it as the perfect canvas for a very unique, very large-scale art project.
Fast forward three years and slowly, but surely, beautifully colored tiles and stones are advancing down Main Street in North Creek. They’re taking the shape of a raging river, tree-covered mountains, and a shining sun, highlighting the activities that make the region special, like whitewater rafting, skiing, and fishing. What was once a 180-foot stretch of bland, concrete wall is being transformed into “one of the largest pieces of public art in the North Country” thanks to the efforts and vision of Hartley and over 700 volunteers.
The North Creek Mosaic Project is truly a community effort and has garnered support from neighboring towns. Students at area schools have created pieces of the mosaic during their art classes and even seasonal visitors to the area have contributed. Some volunteers come to help at scheduled times, while others may fit in a piece or two as they’re walking by. Some of the materials were purchased, but as word of the project spread through the community, donations began flowing in.
The best way to describe the location of the mosaic is across from Cafe Sarah (260 Main Street) and Braley and Noxon Hardware (256 Main Street) in North Creek. Because it’s now too cold for the mortar, work on the mosaic has been put on hold, but Hartley and her team of volunteers plan to be back to work in May. Hartley says that the plan is to “begin the third panel early in the summer, starting with elements created by children from Johnsburg’s 2nd and 7th grades and Warrensburg High School art students.”
While no completion date has been given, it is undeniable that the North Creek Mosaic Project has united the people of the region and has brought more brightness and joy to Main Street. Three years ago, you may have walked right by, but now there is a wall worth noticing._______
For anyone interested in learning more about the art of mosaic, adult mosaic classes will be held in the spring.
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or call 518-251-9083 for more information. The North Creek Mosaic Project will also be selling t-shirts as a fundraiser for materials for the next phase of work. Shirts will be available for purchase during the Lights On Fair at the Copperfield Inn and through the project’s Facebook page.