Everyone notices the Mosaic Wall in downtown Springville. Visitors to our small town, population of 2000, stop to take pictures of their children and families next to the cougar and the eagle mosaic images. People comment how they love the pieces of tile sparkling in the sunlight as they drive through town on their way up to the Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest. The mural is currently about 60 feet long and when completed will grace 320 feet of retaining wall between the historic Springville Inn and the Mini Mart at the entrance of Springville.
The Mosaic Wall is located right on Highway 190 and portrays the natural history of our watershed. The mosaic mural begins in the high elevation mountains at the very top of our watershed and flows through the alpine and sequoia elevations coming down to the oak woodlands, chaparral and pastureland. This project portrays our Tule River watershed flora, fauna and terrain in mosaics. Springville’s Mosaic Wall encourages exploration of the local natural history surrounding our town.
The Mosaic Wall is a project of the Springville Arts Council, a committee of the Springville Chamber of Commerce. The Mosaic Wall Project is one of the seven original proposals to go forward from the Springville Arts Council in 2004. This project received overwhelming support from the Springville community and is the first project to be implemented because it could get started on a shoestring and participation is open to everyone. The first panels were installed on the wall in 2008. The mosaic is prepared on backer board panels off site which are then installed on the retaining wall.
This mosaic process is a team effort. We work together as a group to achieve the results and we hone our efforts as we move forward. We have a “cartoon” or basic design layout; but this is a dynamic process and each section evolves as we work, with input from the participants. We have achieved a level of excellence and built a kind of esprit de corps by building, tearing apart and building again until everyone says, “that’s it”. We are constantly searching out other mosaic projects to compare quality of vision, artistry and technique. At this point we believe we are defining the state of the art for mosaic mural art.
The project is an all-volunteer effort, supported by donations from the Springville Chamber of Commerce with additional funds generously coming from the Community Club & the Women’s Club and from the citizens of Springville and Porterville. A donation to this project would fund the purchase of a lapidary trim saw, new blades, adhesive, backer board, grout and grout sealer and tile nippers and other consumables. We also have to purchase “vibrant” colored tile (most tile donations are beige and white) and high fire clay and glazes for the Bas Relief sections of the mosaic.
The Mosaic Wall is a dynamic point of interest for Springville. We have a high level of enthusiasm and engagement because it is a grassroots community project. Participation is open to all including local artists, craft persons as well as individuals looking for a volunteer opportunity. We are always looking for artistic talent to help execute this project!