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March 25, 2015

Artistic partnership creates beautiful inspiration

Five years in the making, a mosaic of artwork created by Peckham Inc. client artists, Michigan State University students and community artists will be unveiled Thursday.

The unveiling will take place at 5:30 p.m. at Peckham Inc., 3510 Capital City Blvd., Lansing. Peckham is a nonprofit community vocational rehabilitation organization that provides job training and other opportunities for persons with disabilities.

“After a five-year journey, we are excited to reach the final culmination of a phenomenal partnership between the Peckham and MSU community,” said Mitch Tomlinson, president and CEO of Peckham Inc. “The ‘Art@Work’ project demonstrates how the arts and culture can empower and unite people through work, education and the sharing of stories. It is a wonderful illustration of diversity, community and inclusion.”

Nearly 200 pieces of artwork have been assembled to create an installation measuring 200 feet wide by 40 feet tall. The public art project was partially funded by more than $130,000 in grants, supplemented by nearly $80,000 of in-kind gifts.

Students from MSU’s Residential College in the Arts and Humanities worked with Peckham client artists to create the artwork. In addition, students from the College of Engineering designed the framework, partnering with RCAH students, to prototype and implement viewing technology for the installation.

“This is how good partnerships in the arts and humanities should work, organically growing from the ground up, changing the environment so people can better understand one another and themselves,” said Steve Esquith, dean of RCAH. “This is the beauty of ‘Art@Work.’ It’s not a single art project, but rather a new set of relationships that have enhanced the workplace. And it’s art working to build a better world, showing us what we are capable of when we work together.”

The “Art@Work” mosaic was created to represent Peckham’s client artists and the organization’s sense of community, and it serves as a source of reflection, inspiration and imagination.

“This project represents a unique opportunity for students in engineering and the arts and humanities to combine their technical and creative skills for the benefit of yet another group - those working at Peckham Inc.,” said Tom Wolff, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the College of Engineering. “We often speak of the need for those who are technically creative and those who are artistically creative to learn from each other, and in this initiative, it happened.”

By: Kristen Parker