A piece of the puzzle

This mural work was designed by John and executed by two Cleveland artists under his supervision. It is located next to the entrance of a shelter for 'at risk kids' in Cleveland (the location by law can not be disclosed).

Commissioned through a special program and paid through state funding, this mural was designed to express a welcoming message to children and visitors into the youth shelter. It consists of a group of young teens warmly greeting visitors and new arrivals.

The group of figures at the center is enclosed by a frame of interlocking tiles as in a puzzle. But one tile in this puzzle is missing -the one that completes the frame. This "missing piece" is a representation of the agency's mission statement: the puzzle will not be completed until all children at risk are safe.

After meeting with social workers and agency administrators John designed the work and then selected two local artists to meet with the children and find ways to include their imput and participation in the creation of the artwork. This was accomplished by having them, under the artist's guidance, shape the ceramic pieces and then inscribe them with personal messages.

While a group of youngsters worked on the tiles, another group posed for reference photographs used in the painted part of the mural. In fact, these are actual portraits of youngsters from the shelter. The painting was executed by the artist after the tiles had been installed on the exterior wall of the brick building. The center area was finished smooth with cement and then painted with acrylic paints.

John has always been an enthusiastic supporter of young people wanting to enter this demanding art field. He has been both a patron and teacher to many over the years. Artists, students and individuals from various countries around the world also write to him for guidance and advice. His email is listed in the 'Contact' page of this website.

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