A Community Coming Together represents expressions of hope and healing from hundreds of individuals and families in the Guelph community, including those who were living in various group homes or house-bound due to illness and disease. Made of vibrantly decorated clay tiles and stained glass, the mosaic has an important place in The Guelph Enabling Garden in Riverside Park.
Unveiled May 29, 2008, by Spark of Brilliance Founder, Judith Rosenberg, along with many of the contributors and project artists, the piece was completed over the course of five years. Spark of Brilliance, a community-based mental health initiative that promotes healing, recovery and discovery through expressive arts, enlisted the help of three local artists for the project; ceramic artist Goldie Sherman, stained glass artist Katrin Wolters, and multimedia artist Barbara Guy Long. Artists worked directly with community members to create the tiles that make up this mosaic.
While the public was given the opportunity to sponsor a ceramic tile for $20, funding for the project was also secured through the Guelph Community Foundation/Musagetes Fund, Homewood Health Centre, Flaherty Group Home, Spark of Brilliance in Guelph and Dufferin, Friends of Spark of Brilliance in Burlington, Guelph Glass Guild and Dunara Residential Facility.
About the artists
Barbara Guy Long is a multimedia artist who produces landscape paintings in acrylics. She is also a willow artist, designing and working with renowned landscape architects and garden designers to create willow wattle weaving installations in gardens throughout Canada and the United Kingdom.
Goldie Sherman is a ceramic artist and arts educator. Her pieces are often playful, whimsical and colourful, and the diversity of her work celebrates her passion for creative expression.
Katrin Wolters is a founding member of the Glass Guild of Guelph with over 20 years of experience in her field. Her style is versatile, and she specializes in custom work ranging from architectural to traditional.
About Spark of Brilliance
Spark of Brilliance, founded in 1999 by Judith Rosenberg, provides opportunity for persons living with mental health and/or addiction issues to experience the expressive arts within a supportive, understanding, community-based environment. The program’s distinctive model was conceived from a belief that healing and recovery can be kindled through the arts. Rosenberg’s son, Jay Samuel Lefler Rosenberg, was the inspiration for the initiative – as an example of overcoming adversity through artistic expression.
About the Enabling Garden
The Guelph Enabling Garden (GEG) is a multi-use garden designed for everyone; children, the elderly, and families of all types, but especially for those community members with varying degrees of physical and cognitive abilities. The garden is specifically designed to enable people to enjoy the full range of benefits that gardening can provide.
In celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Canadian Garden Council and the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association recognized the Enabling Garden as a 150th celebration activity of choice for garden lovers from near and far.
2008: The mosaic was vandalized in late October 2008, just months after its installation. The centrepiece of the mosaic, with the colourful spiral logo of the Enabling Garden was defaced beyond repair. Local glass artist Lynn Chidwick generously offered to remake and replace the damaged centrepiece.
2018: The protective glass cover, which was installed after the mosaic’s vandalization in 2008, was removed and the mosaic cleaned by City staff. Barber Glass removed the three glass panels, cleaned them and replaced them just in time for the Enabling Garden’s Annual General Meeting in mid-June.
2009 Guelph Tribune article
New look for enabling garden (Guelph Tribune, 2009)
A new gardening program for kids was launched Wednesday at the Guelph Enabling Garden, while a new mural centre-piece to replace on vandalized last October was also unveiled.
The “KidZCreate” program will be run this summer by horticultural therapist Lea Tran.
She said she’ll lead children “with varying abilities” in a program that includes planting flowers and later pressing them and using them to make cards.
The Guelph Enabling Garden is an accessible garden space for the community at Riverside Park that includes wheelchair-accessible raised garden beds. It has a mural made up of 200 tiles illustrating the theme of “A Community Coming Tether,” but the mural’s centrepiece was vandalized last year and had to be covered up only five months after its unveiling.
The centrepiece was spray-painted, and pieces were also pried out of it, leaving sharp edges that were considered dangerous to the public.
Lynn Chidwich, a local stained glass and glass artist, and her husband Terry Petrie decided to replace the centrepiece on a volunteer basis, which they did with help from two of their nieces, Hanna Chidwick and Ijeoma Staunton, and a grant from the Guelph Community Foundation.
Riverside Park, 709 Woolwich Street, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7G6