the tiles are held together with a mesh fabric and applied on the wall with mortar. the joined tiles are numbered to indicate their location on the wall. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal) | buy journal photos

michael minnis, an employee of mosaika art and design of montreal, canada, sets a panel of tiles into place after mortaring the wall of the wave pool at kenwood cove. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal)

saskia siebrand, of mosaika art and design of montreal, canada, lifts a panel of tiles into place on the wall of the wave pool at kenwood cove. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal)

when finished the mural at the kenwood cove wave pool will measure 11 by 36 feet. (photo by tom dorsey / salina journal)

latest headlines:

additional stories:

most commented:

most read:

putting art on the cove


by gary demuth salina journal

between snowstorms and rain showers, a team of canadian mural specialists have been trying to install panels consisting of more than 300,000 individual glass pieces onto a concrete wall in kenwood cove, salina’s new water park.
the unpredictable kansas weather hasn’t made the job easy. winter and spring storms have made for a sometimes frustrating
two weeks for the four-person team from mosaika art & design, a mon- treal-based company that interprets, fabricates and installs mosaic art throughout the u.s. and canada.
the team began work on the installation march 16 for what was supposed to be a two- to three-week project. although in salina the team works under a climate-controlled tent at the concrete wall, a snow-
storm march 19 and 20, followed by rain throughout the day march 24, halted the team’s progress.
for days on end, the mural, which was shipped from montreal in two immense crates of 77 panels mea- suring 2-by-21/2-feet each, sat at the construction site in kenwood park.
“we have to spread mortar on the cement surface and the panels, and with this material, you have to install it between 50 and 70 degrees,” said saskia siebrand, creative and technical director at mosaika art & design. “below that temperature, you risk freezing before it sets. it’s been frustrating trying to hit that window. there’s nothing we can do when it’s snowing.”
when completed, the 11-by-36-foot mosaic mural, entitled “splash!” will provide a backdrop to the zero-depth entry wave pool at the water park,scheduled to open may 29. despite the delays, siebrand is confident her team will complete the mural by wednesday.
“after the piece is up, we’ll have to grout and do some corrections if some pieces don’t adhere properly, and then we’ll seal it,” she said.

adapted from an origi- nal photograph by abilene artist and photographer andrea fuhrman, the mosaic will be visible to all patrons walking through the main entrance of the park.
the original “splash!” photograph is an image appropriated and altered from a series of photos of train graffiti. the image captures what fuhrman called “the droplets that water makes when one enters the water.”
“when the droplets splash up, it looks like human forms rising up with water dripping down them,” she said. “i thought it was per- fect for a water park.”
the design and mosaic were administered through the salina arts & humani- ties commission’s commu- nity art & design program and the city of salina.
“(salina) parks and rec- reation was interested in incorporating an art ele- ment at the facility,” said karla prickett, community art & design project coordi- nator. “the community will have a lovely centerpiece for the water park.”
so how was a company from montreal selected to create and install the mosaic?
prickett said she researched mosaics and mosaic companies and was impressed with mosaika’s attention to detail and focus on collaboration.
“i contacted them to find out their process, how they work with artists, how they work in the studio, how they ship their work and what was necessary for the installation to be installed,” prickett said.

mosaika art & design was founded 12 years ago by siebrand and her busi- ness partner, kori smyth, when siebrand, who has a background in painting and ceramics, became fascinated with large-scale art mosaics.
“it’s really an old art form,” she said. “mosa- ics are a combination of painting and ceramics. with mosaics, i could do collaborations that were large-scale and permanent. i’m very interested in public art that’s not confined to galleries.”
with her installation team, siebrand has installed permanent mosaics in the new york city and los angeles subway systems, reflecting pools and foun- tains, and on floors, walls and ceilings of buildings in texas, florida, louisiana and arizona, among other states.
“most of our clients are in the u.s.,” siebrand said. “canada doesn’t have the same resources as the u.s.”
the individual pieces for the glass mosaic being installed at kenwood cove are made from mexican byz- antine smalti, hand-selected in colors that reflect and re- interpret fuhrman’s origi- nal photograph.

the entire mosaic was put together at the company’s montreal studio and cut into the 77 panels that were individually numbered and lettered. the panels were brought by truck to salina.
“it’s like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle,” said team member michael minnis, who has worked for the company since 1999. “it’s a lot of work trying to put each piece in place so you don’t see the seams. it’s probably the most demand- ing art form because there’s zero tolerance for mistakes.”
also on the team is val- entina guevera, who has a ceramic and art history background and served as colorist for the salina proj- ect, and emily stoger, a for- mer fashion designer who said she is relatively new to the mosaic process.
“i like seeing the process of how it goes up on the wall,” stoger said.

fuhrman, who has exhibited her work interna- tionally and at the smoky hill river festival, said the mosaic is a wonderful opportunity for her work to be seen for years to come.
“artists want to create something that will last,” she said. “photography is very ephemeral, so to see it
turned into something per- manent is amazing. this is a mosaic that will be around for a long, long time.”
n reporter gary demuth can be reached at 822-1405 or by e-mail at gdemuth@

join the discussion:
doesn’t necessarily condone the comments here. read our
full online terms of service policy.

pk says….

fuhrman is a fabulous kansas artist; and mosaika does beautiful work! the mural looks great in the photos — i can’t wait to see it.



beautiful, but extremely pricey.

will someone please reveal the cost of this?

the glass tile itself is quite expensive.


fed up says….

i couldn’t believe they didn’t get someone local or at least from the states for cryin out loud! once again the arts in salina wasting our $$.


mortified says….

amazing, they were selected because of attention to detail. there are other companies here in the states that are detail oriented. this is some of the reason why the economy is poor. what a way to help city of salina!


gso says….

what a waste of energy, i mean gas-fuel. stoopid.


post a comment

your best chance of getting your comment posted:

  • no profanity
  • be civil
  • everyone is innocent until proven guilty.



enter text seen above:

read our full use policy.

email this story to a friend:



sender’s email (required):

enter text seen above: