In an ongoing effort to help remake Uptown, local sculptor
has installed numerous pieces of public art as a part of his Art on Gist Street
project. But when his latest mural, a tile mosaic, is unveiled on Friday, his won’t have been the only hand in the work.
Simon collaborated on the project with ACH Clear Pathways
, a Hill District non-profit which offers summer camps and after-school programs with foundations in the arts.
“They approached me about a program that kids could help with in the summer,” says Simon. “When I work with kids or young adults, my goal is always to make a high-quality piece of public art.”
This particular piece, which will be displayed on the side of a house at the corner of Forbes Avenue and Gist Street, saw Simon work with a group of about 30 children from the Hill, all between the ages of 5 and 12.
“Rose Reilly, the woman who lives in the house, she loves what we're doing in the neighborhood, and she told me that if we ever wanted to do something on her wall then we could,” says Simon.
“He’s just awesome,” says ACH Clear Pathways Founder and Executive Director Tyian Battle of Simon. “He’s patient, he’s respectful, and he worked with our kids to teach them how to make and display mosaic art.”
Battle’s campers worked with Simon at his Gist Street studio two days a week for seven weeks over the summer.
“He told me this was his first time working with young kids and said he was impressed,” says Battle, who founded ACH Clear Pathways in 2009 following the sudden death of her 7-year-old son, Amon Harris.
The kids will see the fruits of their and Simon’s labor on Friday afternoon, when Clear Pathways hosts a small block party on Gist Street, between Forbes Avenue and Watson Street to unveil the mural.
Writer: Matthew Wein
Sources: James Simon, Tyian Battle