Messy and fun Mosaic Art Dots workshop

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 - 5:19pm
Lisa Helene Donovan Bacalski

An additional Mosaic Art Dots workshop will take place Thursday May 31 from 12-4pm in the Renwick Alliance Room.

The Mosaic Arts Dot workshop on Saturday, May 26, vibrated with energy and activity on Saturday, May 26. People pulled on plastic gloves, spread colored grout over concrete domes, and decorated them with all manner of found treasures while others came to watch.

Everything from shells to jewelry to a plastic mariachi player was on hand, including glass tesserae donated by Anything in Stained Glass of Frederick, Maryland.

At the middle of it all was artist Jane Pettit, mixing grout and colored oxides with water one moment, guiding newcomers the next, and then photographing completed domes amid cheers and applause for the proud artists, be they hipster District inhabitants, suburban families, or overwhelmed tourists grateful for the unexpectedly cool and relaxing activity.

Families, new acquaintances and longtime friends worked together to embellish each dome, sometimes meeting at the supply table, other times finishing off a dome started by a long-gone participant. Messy and fun with wondrous results, the Mosaic Art Dot Workshops definitely captured the best of art that is ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’


“This is something that encompasses what is truly great and unique about Artomatic, the diversity and energy of bringing everyone together and the community we can build,” said Pettit, a mosaic assemblage artist whose work can be viewed on the second floor. (The Mosaic Art Dots Workshop debuted at Artomatic Frederick in October 2011.) After the domes dry and set completely, they will be placed in the community for public enjoyment.

Pettit said that while this is her fifth Artomatic, she’s attended several more. Frederick was her first time doing a community art project.

“All of us are creative in our own way and mosaics are a great tool to help people discover it in themselves. Nothing inspires me more than the synergy that happens when strangers from diverse part of our community work together,” Pettit said in an interview.

One moment that stuck out for her from Saturday’s workshop:

It was really fun when one couple were creating a very orderly pattern, I asked who the lawyer was, they were shocked, and a few of us got into a discussion about how your artistic style mirrors your personality. (I used to use art in my consulting work with leadership teams.) I also loved it when people were so responsive cheering others’ work. It was also funny when my granddaughters, who love wearing sequins for all occasions, seemed to unearth every glittery piece to put on their dot.

An additional workshop will take place Thursday May 31 from 12-4pm in the Renwick Alliance Room.

To find out where the Mosaic Art Dots will be displayed, follow Jane on Facebook ( or Twitter (