Yolanda Brown

Yolanda Brown & the Ceramic Mural Project
Ann Simpson Davis Middle School, Dublin, Ohio


In May 2012 the nationally renowned ceramicist, Angelica Pozo, worked with Ann Simpson Davis Middle School students during an artist residency (consisting of 4 days:  May 10, 21-23). During her residency the students produced a 3’ x 5’ ceramic mosaic mural that surrounds a water fountain in the corridor near the school's gymnasium.

The project theme and title is "One Pond”. As Angelica and Yolanda began their collaboration, the theme of a pond "surfaced."

"We liked the universality of a pond, the science connection, and the idea of linking of our school community to the broader global community. Our ceramic mosaic mural allowed the students to explore the scientific reality of ponds as an ecosystem, while nurturing the creative thinking of the students and their artistic exploration of the idea of a pond:  animals, colors, textures, patterns, etc.," Yolanda said.

"This project clearly connected to Ohio Visual Arts Standards and 21st Century Skills. Most notably:

  • how art making functions as a means of personal identification and expression
  • the use observation, life experiences and imagination as sources for visual symbols and images
  • use of a variety of sources to generate original ideas for art making
  • collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity.

Through this project, students were able create with the concept of a pond in Central Ohio, while also considering the pond where the legendary Loch Ness Monster might reside. This kind of expansive musing is at the heart of art education and design thinking."

Davis MS students did research, made drawings, took measurements, sorted materials, prepped the installation space, glazed tiles, grouted, etc. When viewers look at the mural they will see animals found in the “lentic” ecosystem of still waters—fish and animals that have adapted to live in healthy ponds habitats. One will also see evidence of design thinking, composition, color theory, material exploration, ceramics techniques, and public art.

This project was supported by the Davis MS PTO, Dublin Education Foundation, Mayco, Man-Cans, The Candle Lab, The Wexner Center, Yun Fitness (Jason Yun), Pampered Chef (Robyn Helsel), DMS school staff and the Dublin community. Over 100 students worked on the collaborative art project - ONE POND.

"We raised money to fund the project, one dessert or candle at a time. The project created connections between visual art and other disciplines students' study. Working with the artist on the ceramic mural nurtured divergent thinking and creative inquiry."

"The 6th grade and 8th grade students, as well as Art Club members worked on the project in class, during lunch periods and after school. This real-world collaboration was made real and valuable to students who can at times barely sit next to one another at lunch. Having a common goal brought all the sub group of students together. We had students with all abilities working together, students with special needs and students that are gifted, students that are great at art and students that only like art class, because their friend is in the class. Students learned that they had a huge skill set to offer the group. Some students used their art skills, while others used math to help with the measuring of the space where we mounted the mural. Some students helped coordinate the works sessions and helped manage the small group tasks; for instance: sorting like-colored ceramic chards. We came together as a learning community and made a difference. We created something beautiful and memorable that will be at our school for many years. We made a connection to the larger Art community and met a wonderful Artist - Ms. Angelica Pozo. Now, every time we drink from the fountain and look at ONE POND we will smile and be grateful."

View a slide show of the installation by clicking on the image below:

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