SCHOOL MOBILES
& MIXED MEDIA PROJECTS

An interesting aspect of the Artist-in-Residence project is choosing a good site for the artwork. I look for places where there is foot traffic, where the space is open and the light is good, where people can stop and look at the work in detail. In the right location, the art takes on the role of a public landmark, adding meaning and beauty to daily life.

School entries, lobbies, atriums and stairs are places where community art projects make an impact. My job is to imagine what art, made from what material, will work best in a given setting. This challenge is exciting and sparks creative thinking.

For tall, open spaces, the mobile is an ideal solution. Mobiles occupy a three-dimensional volume of space yet remain light and airy; they move gracefully with ambient airflow; they evoke balance and dynamic energy. Mobiles may be abstract, figurative, or symbolic in form. They can be made from reflective materials, like metal and mylar, or colored transparent materials, like acrylic sheets and glass.

I often develop a workshop program to introduce students to the design principles and mechanics of making mobiles, then provide them with simple materials and let them develop their own solutions. Sometimes they'll come up with the overall composition; other times they'll be responsible for individual components.

With mobiles and any kind of hanging sculpture, technical considerations are always part of the project's development. Materials need to be evaluated for their load capacities, as well as conformance to fire codes and other building code issues. This is part of what I bring to the project from my experience as an architect.

We often mix a variety of materials into larger art projects. Past projects have included fire-protected woodwork, handmade clay sculpture, painted aluminum sheet metal sculpture, hammered brass, and custom lighting elements. Students work with me during fabrication, contributing their talents as they learn new processes, all of which is an important part of the learning experience.

For commissions, competitions, and teaching information, please address inquiries to:

Joshua Winer/Mural Arts
Boston, Massachusetts
Telephone: 617.930.6010
Email: jw@joshuawiner.com



 

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Sam Placentino was a visionary school principal who made many contributions to the Holliston Public Schools. This mobile is a tribute to his imagination, dedication and dynamism. An upper ring made from the silhouettes of children holding hands creates a support for a series of suspended symbolic elements. Inside the ring is an anagram spelling out Principal Placentino's name, each initial the first letter of an aspect of his personality (for example, "Scholar-Activist-Mentor" for SAM).

The three mobile branches are dedicated to Placentino's educational triad: "Growth and Change"; "Teaching and Learning"; "Self Expression and Energy";.


'The Placentino Memorial Mobile'
Placentino Elementary School. Holliston, MA.


 

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The upper ring of the Sam Placentino mobile is cut from 3/4” pre-primed MDO plywood attached to a welded steel armature, finished with fire retardent acrylic paints and varnishes. The ring of children holding hands was based on silhouettes of fifth graders.


'Upper Ring: Children Holding Hands'
The Placentino Memorial Mobile, Holliston, MA.


 

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This mobile is a memorial to Peter Clough, Global Studies teacher and mentor to his students. The design process started with a workshop reunion of college students, to fulfill their teacher’s final assignment: “If you could give anything to the world, what would it be”? These symbolic ‘Gifts to the World’ (see details) were integrated as low-relief cutout wood sculpture into the double brass ring that forms the globe of this mobile.


'The Peter Clough Memorial Mobile'
Watertown Middle School. Watertown, MA.


 

 

 

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This is a mixed media work of public art in the lobby of the Watertown High School. Titled ‘The Arch of Dreams and Memories’, it was created by High School students working collaboratively, as a tribute to the memory of their classmate Meredith Kamm. The artwork combines sculpture, mural painting, handmade ceramics and woodwork into a poetic ensemble.


'The Arch of Dreams and Memories'
The Meredith Kamm Memorial, Watertown High School


 

 

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At the center of the Peter Clough Memorial are cutouts of the world’s continents, suspended from cables that hang from a brass start within a globe. The continents spin below a ring of ultramarine that spells out Peter Cloughs’ name in an acrostic. Students created paintings on both sides of each continent that show images of people, animals, plants and buildings of that part of the world.


'The World's Continents - Mural Cutouts'
The Peter Clough Memorial Mobile


 
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