Vibrant shards of ceramic glazed tile shone in the morning sun as Stop Six Neighborhood resident Jesse Andersen, 21, looked at two artists polishing a new mosaic in his neighborhood.
“This is spectacular,” Andersen said. “It really means something. Every day I come up here and look at it.”
Artists Steven Jones and Stephen Champagne were nearing completion of “Legacy,” a new mural in the Stop Six neighborhood designed by John Yancey, an artist and associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Texas at Austin.
John Yancey Bio Breakout:
- Professor for Studio Art: Painting and Drawing at the University of Texas at Austin
- Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Texas at Austin
- Received bachelor’s of fine arts from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1980
- Received master’s of fine arts from Georgia Southern University in 1993
- Yancey’s work focuses on “paintings and drawings; community-based mural painting; and ceramic tile mosaic public artworks,” his university biography said
- Yancey has lectured on African American art history at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Terra Museum of American Art in Chicago, The Dallas Art Museum, Waterloo Museum of Art, Austin Museum of Art and more.
In collaboration with Fort Worth Public Art, a city-funded organization focused on public art projects, former council member Frank Moss, council member Gyna Bivens and the Stop Six Heritage Center, “Legacy” landed in the Stop Six neighborhood.
Yancey designed the mosaic to be vibrant and represent West African and European masquerades called “Igongo,” as a call-back to a popular motif in his art and to the culture of the Stop Six neighborhood.
The mosaic is in the heart of the Stop Six neighborhood at the Rosedale Plaza Park on East Rosedale Street. Yancey dedicated the mosaic to the neighborhood and founding businesses.
“The shape of the plaza is meant to mirror the geography of the Stop Six neighborhood,” Yancey said. “The saw-cuts are meant to align with the main streets of Stop Six. The saw-cut that runs all the way across is representing Ramey (Avenue).”
The mosaic features three pillars and 18 plaques that Yancey called “community gems.” A plaque that reads “Moss Barbershop” commemorates a popular neighborhood business at 6156 Ramey Ave., now a Family Dollar store.
Yancey could not make it to Fort Worth from Austin to supervise the project, so he contacted his friend of 30 years, Jones, who also brought in Champagne. Jones, a Houston-born Alabama resident, traveled to Fort Worth to work on the mural.
Jones and Champagne make up two of the team of artists helping build and polish the mural from 6:30 a.m. to about noon Monday through Saturday.
The team of artists began work on the mosaic in May. “We are indebted to the weather,” Jone said.
Champagne drove to Rosedale Park Plaza from Dallas every morning.
“I worked in the advertising field for 30 years,” Champagne, a UT-Austin graduate student, said. “This showed up on my radar and I said, ‘Oh, yes, I’m going to do it.’ ”
The team of artists completed the finishing touches to the mural on Monday, and a dedicated community reveal has yet to be scheduled, Yancey said.
“The team has been working hard for six weeks,” Devon Nowlin, a local artist who is helping with the project, said to the Report on social media.
The six-week-long building process will bring the community something to own.
“The work that I do is meant in some ways to celebrate the history and the culture of (the) community,” Yancey said. “More than that, the community starts to see it as their piece, you know, something that is part of their world (and) something for them to kind of feel a sense of ownership (for) and hopefully protect and look after.”
Champagne has seen community support from Stop Six residents, who occasionally came up and asked about the project.
The artists feel the community’s support and welcoming energy. Andersen, like many Stop Six residents, felt pride in the mural.
“Y’all did that,” Andersen said to the artists as he watched them work.
Editor’s note: This story was changed to reflect the correct spellings of “Stop Six” and “Rosedale Plaza Park.”