October 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Peru: Art: Murals: Painting: Urban Renewal: Tri-Valley Herald: Isaiah Zagar creates mosaic in Oakland

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Peru: Special Report: Artist and Peru RPCV Isaiah Zagar: October 14, 2005: Headlines: COS - Peru: Art: Murals: Painting: Urban Renewal: Tri-Valley Herald: Isaiah Zagar creates mosaic in Oakland

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Isaiah Zagar creates mosaic in Oakland

Isaiah Zagar creates mosaic in Oakland

Master Isaiah Zagar, the famous Philadelphia artist who mentored True, directed the creation of the large-scale mural, which was made in just a few days. It portrays a wide variety of little forms and brushed colors accentuated by a silver line made of broken mirror, and a few phrases such as A Free Lance Angel. Artist Isaiah Zagar served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru in the 1960's.

Isaiah Zagar creates mosaic in Oakland

Mosaics break ground in Oakland
By Lupita Figueiredo, CORRESPONDENT

A passionate and truly committed mosaic artist, Laurel True, could not be happier these days. After 15 years of teaching and doing commissioned mosaic and architectural work, she was able to create a school, open a supply store and have it all blessed by her maestro.

The Institute of Mosaic Art, 3001 Chapman St., held its grand opening ceremony Sept. 24 in Jingletown, also known as Oaklands art district. An angel, a mermaid and a band from Ghana were some of the main attractions. But they had to compete with a sumptuous mural made from broken glass, mirror and tile, and grouted with 1,500 pounds of colored cement.

Master Isaiah Zagar, the famous Philadelphia artist who mentored True, directed the creation of the large-scale mural, which was made in just a few days. It portrays a wide variety of little forms and brushed colors accentuated by a silver line made of broken mirror, and a few phrases such as A Free Lance Angel.

We want people to know that we are here, accessible to every one, loving and celebrating Oakland, True said.

Inside the purple building, a world of creativity and potential is unleashed.

A room full of broken glass and ceramic tile of all colors and different shapes suggests this is where things will be created from these little pieces. Here is where our workshops are held, True explained.

Students can learn the basics of mosaic making, exterior and garden applications, glass-fusing techniques, and glass-mosaic lamps, mirrors and tabletops through a series of classes, lectures and weekend workshops.

True defines mosaic art as an assembly of pieces, bringing order when there is no order, and bringing chaos where there is no chaos.

Mosaic art was popular in the 1920s, 50s and 90s. Nowadays, True said, it appeals to people interested in creative expression. The mosaics level of sophistication makes it much more than a hobby.

And the art community is taking mosaic-making more seriously.

There is no college or community art school that has a mosaic art degree, but we are trying to change that, the artist said.

The Institute of Mosaic Art in Oakland is the only one of its type in Northern California. With the interior painted a light green, it is full of light and mosaics, made by several local and national artists who are exhibiting their work there.

The current exhibit features a giant crown, Japanese box, a large statue of a woman, a fish and many other objects.

A supply store is right there with the appropriate tools and materials. This is the only store in California with all you need to make any type of mosaic art, True said.

Making her dreams a reality has not been easy for this respected artist. Since I started, I had this vision of creating a safe, comfortable place to seriously explore the thousands possibilities of mosaic making, True said.

It all started when True was 20 and went to work as an apprentice to Zagar, who designed and created intricate and abstract pieces of mosaic in important buildings, streets and parks of Philadelphia.

I was impressed by Laurels amazing willingness to work very hard. I wanted her to develop the skills to touch people in a positive way, Zagar said.

Zagar emphasizes the mystical side of mosaic-making. It is something really special. You turn the detritus of the civilization into the gold of the civilization, like an alchemist.

True had a background in textile and a special interest in Ghana, Africa. She brought that to what would become the center of her life. In addition to teaching mosaic art, True has gotten more than a fair share of commissioned work for private entities and city governments. Her work, displayed as public art in several Bay Area cities, is well appreciated

When this story was posted in October 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Tri-Valley Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Peru; Art; Murals; Painting; Urban Renewal


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