A Colorful Tribute: Celebrating The Arc Westchester’s 75th Anniversary with a Mosaic Mural

Jun 7 2024

A Colorful Tribute: Celebrating The Arc Westchester’s 75th Anniversary with a Mosaic Mural

As part of our year-long celebration of The Arc Westchester’s 75th Anniversary, we wanted to create a lasting tribute that reflects our unwavering commitment to fostering inclusion and dignity for people with developmental disabilities. Through a Teaching Artist Grant for People with Special Needs from ARTSWestchester, we were able to take part in a unique 7-week program with a professional artist, allowing participants in our programs to explore their creativity and learn new skills.

We envisioned a project that would not only celebrate our rich history since 1949 but also symbolize our growth and future aspirations. After much discussion, our team decided that a mosaic mural of a tree would be the perfect artistic representation of our journey. We collaborated with Vicky Youngman, a talented local artist with experience in working with mosaic tiles. Together, we designed a round mural featuring a tree, symbolizing growth, community, strength and resilience.

The mural’s design is both intricate and meaningful. Participants carefully cut and placed colored glass tiles to represent the tree’s roots, dirt, grass, leaves, branches, and the sky. Each element reflects different aspects of our growth and the vibrant community we have nurtured over the years. This collaborative effort included diverse groups from our programs, as well as members of our leadership and staff, who enjoyed the challenge, learned new techniques, and tapped into their artistic talents.

The mosaic mural project became more than just an artistic activity; it was a shared experience that brought participants closer, fostering teamwork and a sense of belonging. It allowed everyone involved to be an important part of our 75th Anniversary celebration, creating a beautiful piece of art that captures The Arc Westchester’s mission.

The unveiling of the mosaic mural was a momentous occasion. We hosted a celebration at our headquarters in Hawthorne on June 4th, where the mural now proudly resides in our lobby. The mural stands as a testament to the creativity, dedication, and collaborative spirit of our community, serving as a permanent reminder of our commitment to inclusion and the remarkable progress we have made over the past 75 years.

Below are the words engraved on a plaque that hangs next to the “Tree of Progress.”

This mosaic tile artwork symbolizes our 75-year journey.  Beginning with the first few families who dreamed of something better for their loved ones, here represented by the roots of the tree, we have grown into the flourishing organization we are today. The tree’s sturdy trunk represents our strong foundation, established when services for people with developmental disabilities were scarce. As the branches extend, they reflect our growth and the diverse opportunities we now offer individuals with various needs. Each tile in the mosaic represents a milestone in our journey, a testament to our commitment to fostering inclusion and empowerment for all.

Special thanks to ARTSWestchester, Artist Vickie Youngman, program participants and staff for making this project possible.

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