ELEMENTS OF CHANGE
Four Corners Public Art Project 2019
In 1872 Richard Allen, Richard Brock, Jack Yates, and Elias Dibble together bought 4 acres (1.6 ha) of parkland with $800 ($16731.11 in 2013 inflation-adjusted dollars). The men, led by Yates, were members of the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church and the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. They did this to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.
On September 2, 2019, a team of artists, led by Reginald C. Adams where commissioned to design and produced four mosaic monuments that honor each of the four founders are anchored on each corner of the park. Through an extensive series of stakeholder meeting, brainstorming and visioning sessions the artists developed a conceptual design that honors the history and heritage of the community park. The results of their planning and research yielded a unified vision for the project by honoring the African origins of creation, the universal elements of change and the impact of each of the four founders rendered in bold and brilliantly colored tile mosaic murals.
There are four elements of change: The Elements of Earth (Truth), Water (Order), Air (Energy), and Fire (Expansion) govern the circulation of all forms of energy in life. The four founders of Emancipation Park were agents of change. We have creatively aligned the four elements with each founder and the respective corner marker. Their portraits are rendered using custom glass tile mosaics. Each mosaic portrait is accompanied by biographical text and a bold color filled mosaic tile wrap that adorns all non-plexiglass surfaces of the corner markers. The circle is a common theme among all four corners. Within a series of rings radiating from the Founder’s portrait are Adinkra symbols and other iconographic images that relate to the transformational change that Africans experienced through the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade until our contemporary time.
September 2, 2019 marked the first day of production. The work begins with the team reviewing the project designs to ensure all the materials and supplies needed for the project are in the studio. Tables are setup to accommodate the large and uniquely shaped mosaic murals that will adorn the four monuments. The large majority of the tiles used for the project included 1"x1" glass tiles and small, medium and large round glass beads and medallions.
Over the course of the following three months the artists invested 3,360 man-hours, laid over 800,000 pieces of tile.
January 2020 marked the completion of the installation of the four mosaic monuments. Installation was hampered by a series of blistery cold days but the artists worked diligently over the winter holidays to ensure that the project would be completed by the beginning of 2020.
The biggest installation challenge for the artists was the unusual geometric shaped sections of the monuments. Working one monument at a time, the artists carefully adhered the mosaic murals like wallpaper against the Durock substrate material using Thinset mortar. After each monument was adorned with it's own respective mosaic murals the artists used Polyblend Sanded Grout to grout each monument.
Then final step in the installation process was to polish and seal the mosaics using Tilelab Grout & Tile
Sealant. Now, the tiles glisten in the sun like jewels meticulously laid into a crown.
Final Photos & Videos
The Emancipation Park Mosaic Monuments could not be possible with the partnerships between the community, public/private businesses and countless volunteers and stakeholders that have worked tirelessly to bring the project and the park to the glorious state that it is in today.
We are honored to serve as visual journalists, as social commentators, as creative messengers to document, celebrate and honor the history and heritage of Houston's historic Third Ward through public art.