"James is a
great friend and has made a lot of important contributions to the
community…He works beautifully with our young people," said Mayor John Fetterman. "It's rare when
you have an artist that's so approachable, talented and down to
Park: 30' x 100' Mosaic: 16' x 24'. Park and Mosaic Designed By
James Simon. Tile and glass mosaic and trees, bushes and grasses.
In collaboration with Allegheny County, the Mid- Atlantics Art
Foundation, and the AmeriCorps Braddock Youth Project, this
project turned a trashed out abandoned lot into a beautiful
community mosaic and green park/space.
My artwork has always been for the public at large with an
emphasize on adding something positive and imaginative to everyday
peoples' lives. The creation of the mosaic park with hands-on
community involvement was an important and meaningful project for
both the artist and the young adults of Braddock. The project gave
these young adults an opportunity to contribute to an art project
that will have a long lasting positive visual impact on their
community. It also gave them an opportunity to work with a
professional artist who has lived and worked in many places in the
For me, the creation of the mosaic park that was a
community/cultural exchange was a wonderful artistic opportunity.
Along with Allegheny County landscapers, I created the basic
infrastructure/layout for the park:supervised the pouring of the
concrete foundations for the pond, the waterfall, the streams, and
the totem pole bases. The young adults from Braddock, with my
guidance applied the colorful mosaics to the surfaces-creating
mosaic fish, animals, flowers, grasses and more.
The youth were exposed to various art worlds from Western to Far
East to Indigenous art, and were given encouragement to draw from
their own environment to create their own imagery. Although these
young adults were involved in all aspects of the project the final
imagery was filtered and translated through my imagination and
skill. My goal is always to achieve an end product that is highest
quality public art.