Over the last few years, Karen Silton’s passion for Community Arts became fulfilled through the evolution of this Mosaic Mural project that took place at a family shelter in Boyle Heights. Earlier years she had spent volunteering her artistic skills in her local Topanga Canyon community gave her the desire to eventually move into this direction once her children were older. In the latter part of 2007, she began to more seriously research different locations and non-profits for a good match and then found that match with a shelter managed by the non-profit L.A. Family Housing, Comunidad Cesar Chavez.

She met with the staff there and heard that there was a need for more attention to the families’ emotional and psychological needs. There was consensus between them that doing art would be very beneficial and this was a neglected area for volunteering and donations. She offered to donate materials and volunteer her time to organize some monthly art workshops at the shelter. Out of this simple beginning, relationships and trust grew and the project took on a life of its own. Three years later, there were over one hundred 9” x 6” house shaped tiles that were made by residents that had lived at the shelter during the three year period and these tiles surrounded the outside border of the 30’ x 5’ mosaic wall shown above.

After the project was underway, Karen Silton created the design for the Family Mosaic Tile Mural with a balance of elements that would be colorful, uplifting and also portray through pictures the families that had been part of this project. There were also many loyal volunteers that participated that made this project happen and it was very much a team effort from start to finish. The photos in the album tell the story that took place including the last chapter involving the installation of the wall beginning September ’10, concluding with the unveiling on November 6, 2010 when there was a reunion of some of the participants with Karen, her team of volunteers and a celebration of this amazing journey with L.A. Family Housing who helped to organize this event and support this project’s installation. Many of the residents cited numerous benefits affecting their financial recoveries including increased self-esteem, lasting friendships, improved family relationships and mental health.



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