Slanted Art Co-op members Elaine Helvig (left) and Penny Kleiner take a break among the festive mosaic icons that will be part of the Dare to Dream mural. The encompassing art project will adorn the exterior wall on the south side of the Church Street Marketplace building this fall.
Story and photos by Rick Hiduk
(originally published in the Susquehanna County Independent)
A collaborate effort by members of the Slanted Art Co-op in the Church Street Marketplace is nearing completion and will soon add to the vibrant downtown cultural of Montrose. Dare to Dream is the name given to a mural project that embraces all that the Marketplace has to offer. While involving the talents of many, it is a dream come true for co-op member Elaine Helvig.
“The whole project was Elaine’s brainchild,” said fellow artist Penny Kleiner, who was helping to lay out the individual icons on the floor of the Reimel Event Centre this past Friday that have so far been created for the piece. “She’s been wanting to do this for a long time.”
Helvig has been honing her skills in mosaic arts for more than a decade, and she had come across a number of murals elsewhere that employed tile-work. She felt that others would appreciate the texture that mosaic offers as an alternative to painted murals. “I suddenly had this urge to do a large mosaic on a wall or a silo,” she related. When she shared her idea with co-op members, nearly a dozen of them stepped up to be a part of the project.
“I am impressed by the other artists who have taken the time to learn how to do this. I can do mosaics, but I can’t draw,” Helvig remarked. In the true spirit of collaboration, some of the participating artists have presented Helvig with drawings that she used as templates for some of the many mosaic icons. She credited co-op members Joan Yeager and Susan Jayne for lending their expertise in porcelain ceramics for painting and firing the tiles that acknowledge the financial support of at least 40 businesses and individuals, including the Lions Club of Montrose, whose board made an early contribution. “When they donated $500, that gave me hope,” said Helvig. Hopes and dreams are related quests that resonate among co-op members, she noted. When she carved her niche at Slanted Art, Helvig’s goals leaned toward inspiring young people to be creative. “But I’ve found that it’s also helping retired people rediscover their passion for art.”
Though mosaic can include a wide range of materials like colored stone and pieces of inlaid glass, the Dare to Dream mural will be composed primarily of tiles in a variety of shapes and styles. Vestal Tile Distributors donated much of the stock that has been be used to create the icons and to eventually fill in the blanks to complete the mural. Art forms to be celebrated through the project include painting, embroidery, jewelry, textiles, wood working, theater, pottery, literature, flower arranging, and wellness disciplines like yoga and massage therapy. Even My Cuppa Coffee, the popular cafe inside the Marketplace, will be immortalized in a mosaic.
The mural will be applied in stages to the rear of the Marketplace building, visible to patrons of businesses in the first block of South Main Street. Installation will likely begin in October on temperate dry days, as too much heat or moisture would prevent the adherent from setting up properly. As the mural nears completion, interested patrons should follow Slanted Art Co-Op on Facebook for details on some kind of reception, plans for which have yet to be finalized.
In addition to the aforementioned artists, participants in the Dare to Dream project include Lily Carley, Hollis Chichester, Rita Eddy, Chris Lathrop, Laura McCarey, Anthony Palombaro, Terry Purdy-Arena, Renee Sands, and Concetta Schirra.