Mosaic alphabet projects paint colorful pictures

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Gerdine Markus stands between the letters 'N' and 'O' outside, which are displayed Tuesday on pillars outside Lincoln Park in Hilo. Markus has been coordinating the project for about three years.

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald From left, Nicolas Boo-Rivera, Tina Reeder, Belinda Cole-Schwartz, Sabina Boo-Rivera, Hal Schwartz and Michael Reeder hold handmade mosaics that are on display in the new East Hawaii Health Clinic at Keaau. The artists chose different letters and paired them with images that start with the letters to help distract kids at the doctor's office.

  • KELSEY WALLING/Tribune-Herald From left, Chad Apigo, Jamerson Kekaualua and Dustin Figueroa install a mosaic Tuesday onto a pillar outside Lincoln Park. The mosaic is a part of a project that is meant to display the alphabet outside the park.

A mosaic project is filling empty spaces with color in a downtown Hilo park.

On Tuesday morning, Gerdine Markus finally saw her three-year project realized with the installation of mosaic art pieces showcasing all 26 letters of the alphabet at Lincoln Park.

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Markus came up with the idea when she saw the Lincoln Park and realized it needed something special and fun to attract more families.

There were 24 pillars outside the gated park with spaces for 26 displays, making the park a perfect place to showcase each letter.

After getting approval from Hawaii County Parks and Recreation, Markus and 11 other artists began creating the mosaics.

Along with Markus, Big Island artists Evan Clarke, Maria Macias, Leslie J. Whited, Ian Brown, Mara Mayo, Mariana Zopel, Treva Bardy-Reister, Sandy Lane, Star Carlin and Ann Rothstein, created the mosaics. Brenda Meriwether provided ceramics to the artists.

All the mosaics are unique, designed to be fun and are sturdy enough to be touched by curious keiki.

Similarly, a group of artists have created alphabet mosaic boards to decorate the East Hawaii Health Clinics in Ka‘u, Pahoa and Keaau.

In June, six artists delivered their homemade mosaics to the recently opened Keaau clinic.

Each mosaic is based around one of the letters of the alphabet, which is meant to entertain children at the doctors’ offices and encourage language learning.

Unlike the project at Lincoln Park, the 26 letters are scattered across the three rural health clinics.

“We decided on the theme of the alphabet, so children can be encouraged to read and learn while waiting on something that isn’t so fun at the doctor’s office,” artist Belinda Cole-Schwartz said in June. “It also brings some color and life to the walls.”

Along with Cole-Schwartz, the other artists include Nicolas Boo-Rivera, Tina Reeder, Michael Reeder, Sabina Boo-Rivera and Hal Schwartz.

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To foster more appreciation for mosaic art, Markus will host an art show showcasing mosaic art from 19 Big Island artists Sept. 3-29 at the Wailoa Art Center.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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