Putting the pieces together

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes checks out the sculpture’s progress. Artist Tamara Isfeld, at right, explains that the large panels would go on the front of the ‘M.’

MARSHALL — The pieces of Marshall’s 150th anniversary artwork were coming together this week.

On Tuesday evening, a few visitors at Independence Park gathered under a tent, picking out just the right pieces of glass to fit into a mosaic pattern.

The volunteers weren’t just having fun – they were helping fill in panels that will go on the front of the Marshall ‘M’ sculpture installed at the park last week.

“You’re working on the top of the M,” artist Tamara Isfeld told volunteers. The volunteers were gluing mosaic pieces onto curved sections of mesh, which would hold the picture together until it could be attached to the ‘M.’

Isfeld said people had been coming and going Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s been steady. I’m surprised, with the heat,” she said.

Isfeld has been working together with Marshall residents on the sculpture project over the course of the summer. She’s also been at Independence Park every afternoon this week, as community members participate in the project.

The sculpture project was funded in part with a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, made possible through Minnesota’s arts and cultural heritage fund.

On Tuesday, Isfeld had several panels of the mosaic on display, in addition to the ones community members were working on. The panels incorporated geometric patterns representing the different cultures living in southwest Minnesota, as well as scenes from Marshall’s landscape and history.

It was challenging to pull the larger design together out of small pieces, she said.

“You know the main colors are teal, blue and orange, but you don’t want just one flat color,” Isfeld said. She looked for materials that would help add some color contrast to the mosaic.

While big sections of the mosaic were assembled, Isfeld said she still had some prep work to do before the ‘M’ sculpture was ready for the mosaic.

“I’ll start filling the seams in first,” Isfeld said. Then she can attach the mesh holding the mosaic together, and add grout to keep the thousands of pieces of glass and other materials in place.

The goal will be to complete the sculpture in time for Marshall’s sesquicentennial celebrations this month. The city said an official unveiling will be held Aug. 18.


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