MOSAIC - A Collective Art Experience

New Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum Exhibition Celebrate the Art of Inclusion

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Artist Feature, Culture, Community Profiles,   From Issue 932   By: Robert E Martin

14th July, 2022     0

Beginning on July 16th and running through August 27th, a  colorful tapestry of divergent perspectives are intricately woven together in a new exhibition at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University titled Mosaic: A Collective Art Experience.

According to museum director Megan McAdow, the timing of this expansive exhibition is aligned with July’s Disability Pride Month and the 32nd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Artists with disabilities are often underrepresented in gallery settings, and we believe this needs to change,” she states.  “Mosaic celebrates artists of all backgrounds and abilities making their mark. Every piece included in this show is equally important to the overall visual impact. Just like every small piece in a mosaic is needed for the final image to come together, we need many ways of thinking and creating to make this initiative a success.”

The Museum is already working with the Disability Network of Mid-Michigan and several other organizations to connect with artists for inclusion in the exhibition. Museum staff worked at  facilitating workshops both at the Museum and in the community around the creation of new works of art. The works will be hung ‘salon style’ — mounted floor to ceiling throughout the gallery to create one large mosaic work.

“This exhibition aims to shed light on the diverse talents of individuals with disabilities not just in Saginaw but in our surrounding communities.” Colleen Dolan, a Midland area artist says “I’m excited for the opportunity to show my work. I love making art because I don’t like being bored, and it gives me a purpose in my day,”

Each work will be created using a 16” x 20” canvas provided free of charge by the Museum. The Museum was also able to provide various art supplies and then it is up to the artists what other media they choose to use in creating their artworks.

The concept for this ambitious endeavor evolved after staff at the museum conducted research to look at all the different agencies throughout the region currently working with people with disabilities. “After looking at agencies either hosting programs at facilities or working with people in their homes, we ended up with a list of 40 different agencies in the Great Lakes Bay Region and started reaching out to them,” McAdow explains.

“We proposed this project and to make it as inclusive as possible only set two guidelines: only one piece could be submitted per artist and we would provide a 16 x 20 canvas so everyone had the same amount of space to work with, although the artist could go 3D mixed media or anything else they wanted to do with that canvas.  The response was incredible and we’ve had hundreds of submissions coming in.”

According to McAdow, the disabilities these featured artists are afflicted with range from physical to cognitive disabilities and span all age groups. “We wanted this show to be completely inclusive to anyone and not targeted towards any particular group. Because we designed it to be completely open, a lot of times we don’t even know what type of disability someone has when they submit their work, so we get an inclusive mosaic of pieces, and are using this as an opportunity to connect with all these different groups of people. We really feel our museum in particular is conducive to accommodate these individuals and artists and make them an inclusive partner.”

“The Disability Network of Mid-Michigan was super excited to be working with us to get this going,” continues McAdow, “and while we haven’t had to provide much guidance to the artists, if someone wants to express themselves or has a question about attempting a different technique, our Curator of Education is available to conduct workshops for ten, twenty, or even one hundred people.”

As the works have been coming into the museum, McAdow says while a lot of it has been abstract, one particular group out of Flint had a few of their artists that decided they wanted to create paintings of deer, so some of the work represented will be figurative as well.  “Whatever inspires the artist is what’s important and we have also provided opportunities and are hosting a couple different drop-in classes for the public that explore different topics like Pop Art and Cubism.”

“Presently we have over 200 pieces of art to display and are trying to figure how to hang them from the ceiling downward,” adds McAdow. “After going through our strategic planning we are seeing our vision and role as one of uniting humanity through art, so we hope this exhibition might serve as a kick-off to maybe a biennial exhibition of community created artworks.  The topics and groups may vary, but we are hoping to have a co-curated exhibition with different community groups and their members as we move forward into the future.”

“It’s truly amazing how some of these artists work,” she concludes. “Some people don’t even want to use a paint brush but will use a cart or wheels on a chair to render their work, which reflects human nature.  Everybody gets something different out of expressing themselves. It doesn’t have to be a Picasso or a Rembrandt - the act of doing it is what’s important.”

There will also be opportunities during the run of the exhibition for visitors to make their own artworks at the Museum and be added to the gallery installation. This ‘collective art experience’ is available for all to participate in, including families and friends.

An online version of the exhibition will further accessibility with options to submit artworks digitally for inclusion in the virtual exhibition. Participants can also submit works through the Museum’s social media pages to be added to the Museum’s website at

The Museum will host an Opening Event to celebrate this exhibition and Disability Pride Month on Saturday, July 16th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include music, refreshments, and a collective art activity.  The event is free and all are welcome.

The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is located on the campus of Saginaw Valley State University, 7400 Bay Road, University Center. Museum hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (989) 964-7125 or visit their website.



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