Austin Mayor Steve Adler attended and spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony held on December 12, 2015. Also in attendance were Public Works Director, Howard Lazarus, Council Member, Ann Kitchen, Parks and Recreation Director, Sara Hensley, and Barton Hills Neighborhood Association President, Tom Nuckols.
Barton Hills Elementary is located at 2108 Barton Hills Drive.
The “We Are Barton Hills” mosaic is the result of a unique partnership between the Barton Hills-Horseshoe Bend Neighborhood Association/Friends of Barton Hills Community Park and the City of Austin Neighborhood Partnership Program. Under the leadership of project coordinators, Mina Kumar and Beatriz Mejia, and artists, Art Therapist Wanda Montemayor and Rachel Noffke, residents worked to create artwork that inspires the community and reflects the creative spirit that runs throughout Austin. This innovative project exemplifies how collaborative efforts by the City of Austin and its residents can progress our shared vision for a better community. Four years of planning, more than 1,000 people, and thousands of hours of volunteer work contributed to the success of this project.
The mosaic consists of five connected panels and is approximately 400 square feet, 177 feet long, and constructed on the retaining wall of the Barton Hills Elementary playground with ceramic and glass tiles. The inclusion of art therapy allowed the stakeholders to not just join together to create this work of art, but helped them connect with each other. The custom ceramic tiles were hand-made, mostly in small groups and art therapy summer camps, by residents of Barton Hills, students and teachers at Barton Hills Elementary and O. Henry Middle School, and other volunteer organizations, including the Austin Mosaic Guild, the Texas Roller Derby Girls, and Girl Scout Daisy Troop #773. The participants were able to take ownership of the project, and thereby their community.