RIVERSIDE, CA- Recently, SoCal CEO Magazine staff was on hand as The Arc of Riverside County held their third in a series of six workshops where people with and without disabilities worked on the National Wall of Respect and helped place the mosaic tiles in their permanent location under the direction of the project artists Erin Maxwell and her parents, Cathy and Greg Maxwell.
This mural project began in March of 2013 and is the result of an idea that took root over three years ago with the goal of promoting dignity and respect for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Arc’s campaign has taken a giant leap into public awareness with this “National Wall of Respect.” It is the latest effort in The Arc’s “Value of One” initiative that uses positive narratives and imagery to show that every life has value and people with developmental disabilities deserve full citizenship.
The Arc commissioned Erin Maxwell, an enthusiastic mosaic artist, who uses ceramic tiles, broken china, stained glass, pebbles and found objects in her artwork. Her art is mainly inspired by Mexican Folk Art, which is reflected in her current Dia de los Muertos collection. Erin was also recently commissioned by the City of Riverside to create several mosaic art pieces. Erin’s parents, Cathy and Greg Maxwell, are also mosaic artists and taught their daughter well. They have formed a dynamic team for this grandiose project.
The National Wall of Respect mosaic mural will measure eight feet in height by forty feet in length and will include approximately 50,000 separate mosaic pieces when completed. The artwork depicts individuals with and without disabilities celebrating life against a backdrop of important iconic architecture and symbols from the City of Riverside.
The mosaic mural technique involves cutting tiles into small pieces using a special power saw and then fastening them with glue to a mesh material in the right places to create people, scenery and architectural structures. Different color tiles are used but no paint. Much of it is done on a flat surface and then it is carefully attached to the wall in sections.
About every 6 weeks, Erin the artists hold a workshop on-site, where individuals interested in the project come and help provide the finishing touches under her direction. Even though the process is slow, as the creation takes shape, excitement is growing.
On a national level the Wall of Respect and the images portrayed in this mosaic mural will add to the national dialogue on the need for greater dignity, respect and justice for not only individuals with developmental disabilities but for all. people who have been marginalized and have not be afforded the dignity and respect they rightly deserve as American citizens.
The Arc of Riverside County is currently seeking donations or sponsorships to offset the cost of this project and to memorialize the values this mosaic mural represents.