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Cornellians’ creativity contributes to public art mosaic

A prominent public mosaic in Ithaca, brought to life with a dollop of Cornell creativity, has won a beautification award.

The 1st Street Mosaic Project – 8 feet tall and 180 feet long and set with thousands of sparkling mirror tiles – won a 2018 Pride of Ownership Award from the city of Ithaca and the Ithaca Rotary Club, for enhancing the appearance of the neighborhood. Cornell-affiliated people and organizations helped create the mural at 1st and Franklin streets, which is visible from State Route 13.

“This project took a year to plan and four years to complete, and we, as a community, are so proud of it,” said lead artist Annemarie Zwack. “Pictures don’t do it justice. I hope everyone can experience it in person.”

In 2012, the city issued a request for proposals to improve the aesthetics of several unsightly walls. Artists including Margaret Corbit ’71 proposed creating a mural to cover a concrete wall at the Water and Sewer Division.

The artists wrote grants and worked with community partners to design and execute four sections, one per year, with themes including local aquatic flora and fauna, and Gaia, the gigantic concrete turtle at the Ithaca Children’s Garden. High school students in the Cornell Botanic Gardens’ PEEPS program, which focuses on environmental and sustainability education, designed a panel celebrating food and agriculture. Community funders included Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The award will be presented Dec. 5 at Rotary’s meeting and at 6:30 p.m. at the Common Council’s meeting in City Hall.

- Susan Kelley

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock