Mosaic celebrating the history of Roselle, which will be inaugurated on Saturday

Mosaic celebrating the history of Roselle, which will be inaugurated on Saturday | Pro Club Bd

For Roselle’s centenary this year, local artist Karen Ostrander wanted the village to have a public memorial work of art with an added measure of permanence.

“That should last a few lifetimes,” Ostrander said. “This will be our legacy.”

Ostrander thought of how the tiled mosaics from the ancient Roman and Byzantine empires have survived through the centuries. So a colorful new mosaic reflecting Roselle’s history was an obvious choice.

Ostrander is Artistic Director and Secretary of the Roselle Arts & Culture Foundation (RACF). The nonprofit organization was founded in 2021 in large part to raise funds and advance what is known as the Centennial Mosaic Public Art Project.

A formal dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting of the completed mosaic will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, August 6 at 107 Main St. Village, Official, Founding Member and 1984 Olympic Champion, Mark Gorski (a graduate of Roselle’s Lake Park high school) instead of appearing all planned.

But Ostrander hopes everyone involved in creating the mosaic will be present at the ceremony. The community art project was specifically developed with the Chicago-based nonprofit Green Star Movement to engage diverse generations of Roselle residents.


        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        
        

“I believe that art can help build community relationships,” Ostrander said. “You have people you don’t know working side by side cutting tiles and sharing tools — so it’s a community thing.”

Green Star Movement is known throughout Chicago for beautifying urban spaces through mosaics on building facades and underpasses. The non-profit organization’s community-focused approach to creating mosaics was another major draw for the RACF.

For example, students from Trinity Lutheran School and Roselle Middle School participated in placing the tiles for the mosaic.

“Now kids can point to it and say, ‘Look mom, I put the blue next to this flower,'” Ostrander said. “So you’re a part of it and its legacy.”

The RACF also reached out to several historians and local residents last summer for suggestions as to what images could be key identifiers of Roselle. These included a steam locomotive, flax plants and a historic dairy on Main Street.

Ostrander was reluctant to be credited as the project’s lead designer or art director. But she confirmed that “I did all the drawing” for the surrealistic juxtaposition of Roselle images.

The placement of the mosaic on the west wall of the 8,000 Miles Restaurant was also carefully chosen. Its proximity to Roselle’s Civic Plaza means it will be featured at outdoor concerts and other community events.

“It was empty with one big, boring wall,” Ostrander said. “And now, when you look at it, the wall is beautiful.”

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