Teens peace together Dole mosaic

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By Michelle Dybal

Contributing Reporter

Visitors to the Dole Learning Center are now welcomed by a new art installation, created by teen Oak Park Public Library volunteers last month. Standing tall amidst a small garden, it cannot be missed by anyone entering the west doors. It's a free-standing mosaic peace sign — colorful on one side, monochromatic on the other.

Rachel Bild, former high school services librarian, said, "We talked about a few possible locations, and when the park district bought the Dole Learning Center, I reached out to them. They seemed like a perfect partner for this since they wanted the outside space at Dole to be as welcoming as the inside."

The Muralist Group students, named for the mural they painted in the Teen Study Room at the Main Library last summer, worked with Harrison Street artist Tia Etu, who chose the peace sign shape while the students chose the color palette and applied the mosaic pieces.

"I think the colorful side is full of life and beauty, while the other side is chaos and absence of life, but not necessarily death," Saidah Rothleutner, a rising junior, explained. Sai has been volunteering with the library's summer teen program for three years while she spends summers in Oak Park with her Mom. At other times, she lives in Louisiana.

The mosaic itself comprises a huge variety of small objects.

The colorful side of the peace sign has a pearly white interior with bits of CDs and other fragments. The graduated circle goes from blue at the top to greens, yellows, oranges then reds at the bottom with random bits, but also a blue tea cup handle, a green yin-yang symbol and car, a yellow smiley face and French horn, an orange carrot, red rainbow fragments — the more you look, the more you see.

The monochromatic side is mostly black and grey. While some objects are included, such as dominos, what stands out are the Scrabble letters spelling Greed, War, Sin, Racism, Hate, Inequality.

Sai said one of the best parts of working on the sculpture was how the project brought the teens together, whether it was through having one of them "being the DJ or the food that we would have or smashing glass with a hammer or just the conversations about everything."

Kind of like a mosaic.

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