- Cullman, Alabama

October 5, 2013

Garden City Elementary gets burst of color from local artists

By Lauren Estes
The Cullman Times

GARDEN CITY — Garden City elementary students were mesmerized as a mosaic artist demonstrated her talent of creating pieces, which starts with breaking up and cutting pieces of glass in order to put them back together as a new, finished product.

The mosaic art instruction classes were funded by a grant a teacher had applied for over the summer. Principal Susan Melton said their school is undergoing many art projects across the campus, alongside the instruction the students received from Charlie and Linda Munoz and their Little River Art Studio, two local artists have donated their time in order to paint murals within the school building.

“We have a special art project that the students will join in on and we will be able to display the finished tile squares in the front of the school,” Melton said. “We also had two artists come in to do these two projects for us. One is located at the front of the school when you come in the front door. He is using a gardening theme to work in “Garden City” but he also used our mascot in the mural, the tiger, who is dressed like a gardener. The cafeteria also has a mural in it now. It was airbrushed by another local artist and it displays seven habits we are trying to teach to the children. The model for that mural is the large tree we have out front and we are just so proud of it.”

 Munoz talked with the students about character building by sharing a story about two quilts she brought along for her presentation.

“The old quilt I brought is antique looking, made from scraps of clothing from my mother and great-grandmother, and so I try and teach the children that just because something is not new, does not mean it doesn’t have worth,” Munoz said. “You can take things that you already have and make something really special. You don’t always need to buy new things to create something, you can take things around the house and put together a piece of artwork. The newer quilt I brought was made from new pieces of cloth I bought, but the older quilt had so much more meaning to me.”

When moving from the quilt discussion to the building of the mosaic tile pieces, she shared about the process of something once being broken to being made whole again is true beauty.

“Even though the broken pieces of glass didn’t look like much in the beginning, when they came together, they created something beautiful,” Munoz said. “I do workshops and people will bring dishes and we will break them up. The feeling of breaking something and yet putting it back together is very healing. After the tornadoes in 2011, I made a mosaic using pieces from the tornado so it can show that the brokenness can end in strength.”

Students were able to take part in putting together pre-cut pieces of glass into tile frames and Munoz seal them in creating a mosaic art to be displayed in the front lobby of the school. She compared the glass pieces to something that could be seen at a church.

The artists who were also present to share about their murals said it was something they both enjoyed doing. Krel Buckelew and Jon Oiszowka, unaffiliated artists, are both from Cullman and each donated their time to contribute the wall designs for students and faculty to enjoy.

“We really appreciate their willingness to do these artworks for our school,” Melton said. “They donated their time and we are so proud of the finished products.”

For information on mosaic art projects, Linda Munoz can be reached at the Little River Art Studio at (205) 499-6137.

Lauren Estes can be reached at or 256-734-2131, ext. 137.