Five years ago, a local artist named Stacia Goodman received an Arts & Culture Grant through the City of St. Louis Park, the Community Foundation, and Friends of the Arts to install a mosaic in the entryway of the Rec Center. After five years of pleasing Rec Center guests, the mosaic has been replaced with a new creation of Stacia's. We wanted to learn about her creative process, so we asked Stacia some questions about the new piece.
What was your inspiration for this piece? How did you settle on spelling "Fun?" I think we overlook that being active can be fun, rather than drudgery. My family has certainly had a lot of fun in and around the Rec Center over the years, so why not shout it out and encourage more people? If your fitness is fun, it becomes irresistible. It has for me. Also, I like my artwork to tell a story. The mosaic does that by including items from the Rec Center.
What kind of story does this mosaic tell? As an artist, there's nothing that makes me happier than seeing people interact with one my creations. So before I design a new piece, I like to first hang out in its future home and observe how the space gets used. Last spring, I was at the Rec Center discretely studying my previous mosaic mural in the atrium. I saw a mom and her little boy playing "I spy," challenging each other to find hidden objects within the mosaic. I introduced myself and asked the boy what I could put into the new artwork that he would like to "spy." That's why "Fun!" includes a Hot Wheels toy car.
Also, creating "Fun!" marked a milestone in my art career: my first work-related trip to the ER. I wanted the mosaic to feature objects from the Rec Center's lost and found, and that included a big, barbed fishing lure. While working, I accidently got the darn thing painfully lodged in my thumb. Thankfully, it and the lure survived the ER trip. The (sterilized) lure now lives in the new mosaic. See if you can spot it!
You do a beautiful job creating meaningful artwork for a specific place--in this case the Rec Center. How was your experience creating a piece that would replace one of your own works you had already designed for that space? Thank you. I love "Green Spirals," my previous Rec Center mosaic mural created five years ago. For a long time, it was my favorite piece. But I have a continually restless creative mind that's always thinking of the next project. I was ready to apply some new techniques, but still upcycle onsite objects. By the way, if anyone is interested, "Green Spirals" is now looking for a forever home.
I know you like to keep it local, working in your own communities and supporting other local business and organizations. How is St. Louis Park or Minneapolis special to you? My family straddles both communities. We live in Southwest Minneapolis just a few blocks from St. Louis Park, so both are home. In fact, my art studio is in Minneapolis and my warehouse storage space is in St. Louis Park, as are most of my suppliers. I really try to shop local, and my hope is that the many developers and interior designers working on new projects in the Park will include the work of local commercial artists like me.
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers? I'm grateful for how SLP supports the arts. My Arts and Culture grants have been big boosts to my career. They've helped me win major commissions, including two huge murals that I recently installed at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport [Summer Northern Lights and Winter Northern Lights, pictured below]. That's a big deal for someone like me who is self-taught and hails from a poor, rural area in Northern Minnesota where public art did not exist.