Nearly two years in the making, Paradise Valley Community College recently unveiled a new ceramic tile art display on its main campus. The two-by-six-foot mosaic-tile panels, fastened to the southeast side of Building G, represent the college’s seven core values – integrity, diversity, innovation, partnerships, excellence, sustainability, and learning.
The idea blossomed when PVCC President Dr. Paul Dale approached Art Professor David Bradley about creating a piece of art for the campus that represented the college’s seven core values. While promoting the project throughout campus for participants, Bradley brought on guest artist Kimberly Harris to help facilitate the project. About a dozen volunteers stepped up to the challenge and began meeting weekly for months to create a visualization through sketches and then full-size drawings.
“It was a tricky process having to take into consideration shrinkage of the clay and color variations for the tiles through glazing and re-firing, amongst other things,” said Bradley. “Once we came to an agreement on what each panel would look like, we began fabricating the parts for each.”
The team worked every Friday through Fall 2019 to create the design and piece together the donated tile. Each panel consists of a plywood backing with a waterproof coating, mortared and attached, which was then placed inside a metal frame, designed by Harris and fabricated at a local metal shop.
“We were ready to go last spring, and then Covid hit,” Bradley said. “Everything came to a standstill.”
In Fall 2020, under Bradley’s supervision, a small group of students got together to assemble the panels, which took about seven weeks. Finally, last month, the artwork was mounted for display.
“I was so excited to see them mounted on the wall,” Bradley said. “Having seen them lying down in the ceramic studio, it was quite a different experience seeing them mounted. Different times of day the light changes and your perspective changes. They looked so beautiful.”
Dale and Bradley intend to continue collaborating for additional pieces of art around campus, and Bradley is hopeful once people see the pillars on display, it will garner more interest to participate in future projects.
“It’s a real privilege for me to be able to contribute to the campus,” said Bradley, who also was involved with other projects on display around campus including the horse sculpture in front of CPA, the ceramic totems around campus, and the ceramic murals outside of the M studio.