Mosaic Mural Made By the Blind

Shane Jung is the Physical Plant Manager at the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SDSBVI), and he recently worked on a fascinating project: a mosaic mural made by blind people.

The artist who made this mosaic are the students, teachers, and maintenance staff at SDSBVI.

The design of the mosaic is the image from the SDSBVI logo, and the braille text reads “2024 SDSBVI.”

The size of the mosaic is 11 feet by 5.5 feet. It required between 37,000 and 38,000 tiles to complete.

photo: mosaic-mural-sdsbvi-in-prog-3


You have to be prepared to make serendipitous discoveries in art, and the key is an open mind.

Rather than being blinded by conventions or even your original intentions, “listen” to your artwork as you make it.

photo: mosaic-mural-sdsbvi-in-prog-4a

Look at your art periodically and see it with open eyes.

Would you believe that the braille text reading “2024 SDSBVI” wasn’t part of the original design?

You have many opportunities to make the artwork better while you are making it if you pay attention and don’t get into autopilot mode.

Continuity and Character

Normally the top priority for multiple artists working on the same mural design is to make sure there is continuity of style between artists.

In the case mosaic murals, this means making sure that spacing and andamento (work lines/tile rows) are the same.

In the case of the SDSBVI mosaic mural, it is the idiosyncratic style of each mosaicist that makes the mosaic so interesting. There is “character,” and you can literally see the hand of each individual artist.

photo: mosaic-mural-sdsbvi-detail

Keep in mind that it is different seeing it in person, where you can put your hands on the mosaic and feel the differences in spacing and style of andamento.

This mosaic was not only made by blind people. It was also made for blind people because of these “mistakes” which give the mosaic character that can be perceived by touch.

photo: mosaic-mural-sdsbvi-in-prog

Shane tells me that Dr. Jessica Vogel is the school superintendent and that the school’s foundation bought the tile.

Congratulations and thanks to all those who made this mosaic happen and for doing it in a way that let the individual artist shine through the finished product.

photo: mosaic-mural-sdsbvi-alt





2 responses to “Mosaic Mural Made By the Blind”

  1. Wilma Wyss Avatar

    A wonderful and thought provoking blog post. I see this mural as the perfect example of

  2. Wilma Wyss Avatar

    A community project that honors each participants individual contribution. There was no push to have everyone set their tiles in the same way. Thanks, Joe, for sharing this wonderful and very successful mosaic project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.