Mosaic Tiles at International District/Chinatown Station

Mosaic Tiles

Walking up to the far northeast corner of the station, just outside the tunnel entrance, a mosaic of tiles provides a burst of color. The tiles were created by fourth and fifth graders from Beacon Hill and Bailey Gatzert elementary schools. You can find the names of the young artists on a metal column nearby.

The mosaic was developed by sculptor Maggie Smith. First, Smith brought storyteller Cathy Spaenoli to the two elementary schools, where she told the students stories about different cultures for five months. A week after each storytelling session, Smith would hold a class in tile making, and encouraged the children to incorporate symbols from the stories into their tiles. Many of the images came from stories by and about Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Philippine, Mexican, African, and Southeast Asian cultures.

Shirley Fung, 10 when she created her tile work, sums up the program the best. “I’ll be able to take people down there and show them,” she said. “And I’ll be able to say, ‘I did that.'”

Photos by Ronn CM Creative. Courtesy SCIDpda

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