Mosaic Shines Thanks to BNHA Grant

May 18, 2016

It’s very hard to pass by the American Visionary Art Museum with just a casual glance. This one-of-a-kind national museum dedicated to art created by self-taught individuals is covered in a glittering, dazzling mosaic. Creation of the towering mosaic walls started in 2001 as part of the Shining Youth/Shining Walls Community Mosaic Project. AVAM apprenticed at-risk youth and juvenile offenders to impart job skills in formation of the complex mosaic composed of glass, mirror, and ceramic tiles. An anonymous program, partisans "signed" their names by creating their own mosaic planet on the wall. Each graduate earned lifetime museum membership in reward for their hard work. 

“The apprenticeship program was designed so that our young participants can one day point with pride to their grandchildren and say ‘I did this. This is the part I worked so hard to create,’” said Rebecca Hoffberger, the museum’s founder and director. “We’re grateful that the Heritage Investment grant helped us bring this 14-year vibrant project to a joyous close.”

Photo courtesy AVAM

AVAM received $5,600 in Heritage Investment Grant funding to support the final phase of the mosaic project: the rooftop swirling crown on the museum’s main building. Completed in March, the mosaic crown is a spectacular, illuminated beacon shining along Key Highway at the base of Federal Hill. The Community Mosaic Wall Project has been regarded as a highly successful initiative showing troubled teens that they can gain real job skills, enhance their participation in community and inspire them onto a path of life-long learning.

Visit the American Visionary Art Museum and see first-hand how BNHA’s Heritage Investment Grants are making a difference in Baltimore’s cultural community.