New Mosaic Installed at Millberry Fitness & Recreation Center

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

For the first time, I was working on art that was not about me or my life, or for the purpose of expressing my emotions. I volunteered with other community and gym members to create a mosaic for UCSF’s Millberry Fitness and Recreation Center.

As students, we can be consumed by a world where there is a single correct answer or the optimal protocol. Working on the mosaic brought me to a place where the pieces do not have to be perfect. Things would work out. And the more diverse the pieces of tile, the more interesting the outcome would be.

“I hope that this mosaic creates a sense of wonder,” said Rachel Rodi, the commissioned artist and instructor at the Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland who led the Mosaic Project. “When people see this mosaic, I hope that they will feel inspired and uplifted and that these feelings ripple into their daily lives.”

Judy Chew, a volunteer and gym member, talked about the value of being part of the project. “The work was the reward itself, but the friendly environment was incredible,” she said “Instead of paying professional artists fortunes to make art for UCSF, let the people do the art.”

Now that I’ve experienced community art, I have to agree. It’s therapeutic, motivating and empowering.  Hopefully, our campus will initiate more community art projects in the near future. After the volunteers went home, I stayed behind to take photos of the finished product. It was then that I noticed Rachel Rodi and the other project organizers gaze at the finished project in awe.

This may not be one of Rodi’s personal masterpieces, but the look on her face and the attention she paid to cleaning the dust off of the mosaic showed how proud she was of this artwork. I could tell that she felt satisfied because she had brought people together, regardless of their artistic background.

She had taught a group of people a new skill and empowered the community by showcasing their original work.  Although my jellyfish isn’t as detailed and elaborate as the turtle or octopus in the mosaic, I’m still proud that a little piece of my creativity will stay with UCSF for years to come. During your next workout, don’t forget to stop by the Millberry Pool and take a look.