PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The community of East Bayside in Portland is getting an art installation that is as beautiful as it is inspiring.
The East Bayside Community Mosaic Mural is made up of tiles, glass, mirrors and other pieces, creating a work of art meant to connect all cultures of the local community while promoting acceptance and togetherness.
The idea of the mural comes from the mind of Muhsana Ali, an artist from Senegal, who was brought on by the University of Southern Maine Art Department as a seven-week Artist in Residence, after learning about the success of a similar project Ali did in Texas.
Students from the USM Social Work and Art departments, as well as any other students — along with local residents — are invited to come by the work site behind sponsor Coffee By Design on Diamond Street to help paint pieces to be used in the mosaic, which is themed "voices of the community."
"A lot of people in this community feel maybe they are not a part of this community because they are new immigrants," Ali said. "There are a lot of people who come from other places in the U.S. as well.
"So, we want everybody to feel connected and for people who don't know other people in this community to get to know those people."
Ali said that since starting the project weeks ago, people have told her they come to the project site when they are discouraged in order to feel better and uplifted.
"The goal is not the finished piece," she said. "The goal is the process. So, what we're doing is just getting people together."
The projected completion date of the mosaic is Oct. 20. There will also be a discussion that day with Ali on the mosaic project at USM. That evening, Coffee By Design on Diamond Street in Portland will hold a public fundraising event to help cover the cost of the project.