Learn to Create Mosaic Artwork with NMWA!

Join NMWA on Saturday, October 1, for Piecing it All Together with Valerie Theberge! This adult workshop, free for participants 16 and older, explores the artwork of Niki de Saint Phalle (currently on view along New York Avenue), while participants gain inspiration for their own mosaics.

Mosaic artist Valerie Theberge

Mosaic artist Valerie Theberge

Local mosaic artist Valerie Theberge will lead this exciting workshop, in which participants will create their own mosaics using tiles and mortar. Theberge has spent the last 10 years working as a mosaic artist; she has studied and worked on mosaic projects inChina, Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Turkey, and the United States. She currently works in a studio in the D.C. area, and she has used her wide-ranging skills to complete mosaics in a variety of settings, including an Arlington park, the Prince George’s County Correctional Center, an underpass in Reston, and the Patricia M. Sitar Center for the Arts in Adams Morgan.

Mosaics as an art form can be traced back more than 4,000 years: the mosaic form that we are most familiar with has existed since around 200 B.C., when Greek artists began using tesserae (small, specially manufactured pieces of glass, stone, or gold) to create images and add depth and detail. Perhaps the most beautiful mosaics in the world are from the Byzantine Empire, when artists used small pieces of gold and beautifully colored tesserae to reflect natural light, as well as candlelight, for ecclesiastical images. The results, which can still be seen today, are breathtaking—they speak to the power of the Byzantine Empireas well as the talent of the artists who created them.

Niki de Saint Phalle's Nana on a Dolphin, currently on view on New York Avenue

Niki de Saint Phalle's Nana on a Dolphin (detail), currently on view on New York Avenue

But you don’t have to go all the way to Greece or Turkey to see beautiful mosaic artwork. Washington, D.C., residents and vistors can enjoy this ancient art form on a daily basis, just by walking down New York Avenue! The Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures on view through NMWA’s New York Avenue Sculpture Project are fantastic examples of this venerable art form used in a new, exciting way. Combining dynamic color and form, de Saint Phalle created vibrant, lively figures, which are partly inspired by the famous Barcelona-based architect Antonio Gaudi (1852–1926). Her figures take on a life of their own: their large scale and active lines create motion and vigor.

This exciting adult workshop will help artists and beginners alike delve into mosaics. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Niki de Saint Phalle and her sculptures, work with a fantastic mosaic artist, and explore your own creativity using one of the most ancient and spectacular art forms. This October 1 workshop is free for adults (16 and older), but reservations are required. To register, please email reservations@nmwa.org or call 202-783-7370.

This program is generously supported by the family and friends of the late Dr. Leonard Gorelick.

—Elena Gittleman is an education intern at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

3 thoughts on “Learn to Create Mosaic Artwork with NMWA!

  1. I would love to attend this workshop. Unfortunately, I live in California and am my Mama’s 24/7 caregiver. If I had the time (and the cash), I would be there.

    Any chance you might visit the San Francisco Bay Area long enough to hold a workshop. I know an amazing artist who recently posted some of her mosaic pieces on her facebook page. I know she would be interested, although she is already so gifted, as a teacher, she knows that we never stop learning.

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