Ridgeland, LaFayette students piece together heritage in mosaic art for state capital

Ridgeland, LaFayette students piece together heritage in mosaic art for state capital

June 6th, 2012 Timara Frassrand in Walker

High school art students from the classrooms of Liz Hornik of LaFayette High and Erika Couey of Ridgeland High schools are finishing up artwork that will be a permanent addition to state Rep. Jay Neal's office at the state capital.

The two schools' art classes recently visited and toured the capital for an art fair and approached the representative with a creative idea, one with roots in local heritage.

"We worked out a way for both schools to create a permanent installation to Representative Neal's office by creating mosaic art from each school," Hornik explained.

She said that while discussing the subject idea for the artwork they were both equally tired of using ramblers and panthers (the schools' mascots) and decided to venture down a more creative path revolving around social studies standards.

"We wanted to represent this region," Hornik said. "LaFayette chose the myth of creation by the Cherokee Nation, which is symbolic of how the world started. Ridgeland used a Celtic design representing the Scots and Irish that settled in this region."

Hornik said it's important to understand the culture and history of this area and where we come from. Many of the students who participated have a combined heritage of Cherokee and Scottish/Irish, she said. Students participated in the design process and then worked together with the focus of area history to create permanent pieces of art.

The two 20-by-20-inch pieces of artwork are almost complete and the group will present them to Neal in June. The art was assembled using stained glass, bright, bold colors and grout, along with historical and design research.

Hornik said it was tough creating the pieces for the single display at different schools, but said they made sure the artwork matched.

"The pieces represent different heritages of our area and will hang together with unity," she said.