A volunteer checks the final tile work of the 1999 mosaic Road to Wisdom, before it is installed on an outdoor wall.

Peace by Piece
, the title of a mosaic installation by Nina Smoot-Cain and John Pitman Weber with teens from Bethel New Life, is also a fitting title for this entire section on community mosaics. Because of the amount of labor it takes to produce them, mosaics have traditionally been a collaborative art form. In community mosaics, the meaning of the collective work, of the contributions of unique individuals to a harmonious whole, acts as a metaphor for the community-making function of collaborative public art.

In this section you’ll find detailed descriptions of techniques used by Chicago Public Art Group artists for creating beautiful, safe, and permanent indoor and outdoor mosaics. Juan Chávez and Olivia Gude describe over twenty years of mosaic practice in Chicago, providing insight into the many small design decisions that contribute to the quality and interest of a mosaic work. The mosaic portfolio presents a stunning array of ceramic and glass tile mosaics created with children, teens, and intergenerational groups.