Contact: Dawnmarie Zimmerman

2017 Mosaic Arts International

Presented by the Society of American Mosaic Artists
Held in conjunction with the 16th Annual American Mosaic Summit

May 4 – June 15, 2017
Janice Charach Gallery, Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit
6600 West Maple Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48322

OPENING RECEPTION: May 4, 2017 6:00pm – 9:00pm.

The 16th Annual Mosaic Arts International Exhibition (MAI), sponsored by the Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA), invigorates a new perspective of mosaic art in numerous contexts and celebrates established as well as emerging artists working in the medium today. The selected works reflect the multiplicity of the mosaic medium and its unlimited applications. But, regardless of the style, colors, textures, materials, or vision, each of the works exhibited speaks an ancient language with a contemporary translation.

Mosaic Arts International 2017 will be presented at the Janice Charach Gallery, Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit, in West Bloomfield, Michigan from May 4 – June 15, 2017.  The exhibition will be comprised of a juried exhibit featuring the best in contemporary fine art mosaics from SAMA’s diverse international membership as well as a special invitational exhibition of the work of Verdiano Marzi.

Mosaic Arts International 2017, Invitational Artist
Verdiano Marzi
Prehiera Prayer
150cm h x 100cm w
smalti, gold, dalle de verre

Verdiano Marzi has been called a “Mosaic Maestro,” and he is indeed a master of the medium. Known in Europe and the United States for his creation of numerous public monuments, Marzi has exhibited his artwork throughout the world. In addition to exhibiting work, he also teaches mosaic in and around Paris, at the Chicago School, and in Japan. Marzi has partnered with the Louvre for twenty years to develop and lead the workshop series: “Fragmented Image: Mosaic.” His book, “Studio Secrets,” has been published in both French and English. He currently lives and works in Paris.

Jacki Gran, SAMA President and Exhibitions Committee Chair, discussed her excitement for bringing the work of Verdiano Marzi to Detroit and the American Mosaic Art Community, “We are extremely fortunate to be able to present such a large collection of masterful works this year that will not only inspire artists of all disciplines, but celebrate the beauty and mastery possible in the medium of mosaic.  With over 14 works and a selection of finished and process renderings by Verdiano on view, no one will walk away from this exhibition without a sense of wonder and awe of the enormous talent and skill this man possesses as well as appreciation for the generosity with which he shares his gift!”


The Mosaic Arts International: Fine Art segment was juried by a panel of Internationally accomplished jurors, Gary Drostle, London, UK, Shug Jones, Garland, Texas, and Sergio De Giusti, Redford Township, Michigan. Their dedicated work culminated in the selection of 35 works for inclusion in the MAI Fine Art exhibition from over 200 entries.

The Mosaic Arts International: Site-Specific segment is a juried exhibit of the best in contemporary architectural and in situ mosaics from SAMA’s diverse international membership. Juried by Susan Goldberg, AIA, this exhibition will be presented through images featured in the 2017 Mosaic Arts International Catalog, and in a dedicated image gallery on the SAMA Website, (available May 4, 2017).

Gary Drostle shared the following thoughts on the jury experience and SAMA’s Mosaic Arts International exhibition series, “It was an inspiring experience for me to look through the entrants for the 2017 exhibition and a wonderful reminder of the richness and variety of mosaic art now. I hope that viewers of the exhibition and its legacy in the catalogue will be equally inspired by this art form and if they are mosaic makers themselves, feel moved to push forward and improve and develop their own work further. I have no doubt that Mosaic Arts International is a positive force for the improvement of contemporary mosaic practice in the world.”

In addition to creating a collaborative selection of work for the exhibition, the jurors were tasked to select several works to bestow SAMA’s annual awards.  We are proud to present their selections here…

2017 Mosaic Arts International Awards


Mosaic Arts International: Fine Art

Mosaic Arts International 2017: Best in Show
Toyoharu Kii
Ritual Contact
29″h x 7″w


Ritual Contact is a visual feast of texture, patterns, incredibly precise cuts, and complex execution.  His mastery of the material and medium is evident in his use of interstices as part of the design and the reverence evoked by the sum of its parts.  Shug Jones, 2017 MAI: Fine Art Juror.


Mosaic Arts International 2017, Contemporary Innovation Award
Scott Fitzwater
Diversity Gradient III
20.5″ h x 30″w
slate, thinset, handmade substrate

‘Diversity Gradient III’ is worthy of the Contemporary Innovation award for its creative use of tesserae and setting bed which creates a tension in this work that seems to buzz in the way a Rothko painting does.”  Jones shared, “This mosaic pushes the envelope of mosaics, challenging our traditional understanding of the medium while using only slate, thinset, and a very limited color palette.  The struggle taking place between the two colors left me rooting for the red to prevail and not be dominated by the black.  Gary Drostle, 2017 MAI: Fine Art Juror.


Mosaic Arts International 2017: Technical Achievement Award
David Chidgey
23″h x 14.5″ W
Glass smalti, carved terra-cotta, gold smalti

I felt the mosaic was aptly named as it is a visual feast of jubilance, cheer, and delight.  The carved terra-cotta pieces woven throughout create a visual tension which causes the smalti to appear to be bursting through the seams to escape.  Shug Jones.

…the precision of the work and the sheer beauty of the composition and colouration, here we have a work that sings out and takes our eyes on a journey of harmony and excitement.  Gary Drostle.

Mosaic Arts International 2017:
Juror’s Choice: Gary Drostle
Toyoharu Kii
Abandoned Land
22″ h x 20″ w
Marble, Crystal

It is significant that Toyoharu Kii is the only one with two works in the show, one winning the ‘Best in Show’ award and the other the ‘Jurors Award’ from myself. These are the works of an accomplish master who both has a unique and powerful voice, which resonates with his Japanese cultural heritage and his deep understanding of the traditions of mosaic, and who continues to push the boundaries of contemporary mosaic art, exploring the true essence of what a mosaic is. It is difficult not to just stand in front of these pieces in awe. Gary Drostle.

Mosaic Arts International 2017: Juror’s Choice: Shug Jones
Deb Englebaugh
Pennsylvania sandstone, smalti, bisque fire clay and metal

I was drawn to the soothing colors and responded to the textures created by the intermingling of the tesserae and the stamped designs on the mottled surface of the clay.  There was an energy created by the interaction between the clay, stone, and glass that I found fascinating.  The broken slabs and distressed central area along with the random layering of materials lend a sense of the passage of time. Shug Jones.


Mosaic Arts International 2017, Juror’s Choice: Sergio DeGiusti
Pauline Mills
18″h x 18″w
wood, metal, glass

The great variety of submissions made it a pleasure for me to select works that dealt with the traditional elements of mosaic art, abstractions, assemblages, and new materials that reflect methods that are modern yet hold onto the history of this great ancient art form.  Most of the works were well crafted and clearly defined in their image making.  I was drawn to simpler abstract works in my choices along with some of the traditional representational figurative works.  I was less drawn to busy compositions that were overly embellished and decorative.   Sergio De Guisti

The Mosaic Arts International: Fine Art exhibition will feature the work of the following artists:

Lilian Broca, Vancouver, BC Canada
Sandra Bryant, Lynden, Washington
Kathy Burk, Boseman, Montana
Sandi Burt, Cameron Park, California
Patty Chapman, Wilson, Wyoming
David Chidgey, San Antonio, Texas
Darcel Deneau, Novi, Michigan
Christopher Elam, Bloomington, Indiana
Deb Englebaugh, Mercer, Pennsylvania
Scott Fitzwater, Portland, Oregon
Elizabeth Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
Etty Hasak, Chicago, Illinois
Valerie Hollstein, Salt Lake City, Utah
Caitlin Hughes, Winmalee, NSW Australia
Kate Kerrigan, Bend, Oregon
Toyoharu Kii, Toyko, Japan
Kelley Knickerbocker, Seattle, Washington
Valerie McGarry, Bowmanville, ON Canada
Laurie Mika, Encinitas, California
Pauline Mills, Lubbock, Texas
Shawn Newton, Lake Worth, Florida
Rachel Sager, Perryopolis, Pennsylvania
Peggy Schuning, Cincinnati, Ohio
Joan Schwartz, Huntington Woods, Michigan
Marian Shapiro, Glenbrook, NSW Australia
Lillian SIzemore, Madison, Wisconsin
Julie Sperling, Kitchener, ON Canada
Angela Sanders, Los Altos, California
Cathy Taylor, Brantford, ON Canada
Aida Valencia, Tijuana Baja, Mexico
Donna Van Hooser, Prairie Village, Kansas
Casey Van Loon, Chicago, Illinois
Liliana Waisman, Argentina
Anabella Wewer, Macungie, Pennsylvania

All work will be presented in the 2017 Mosaic Arts International Catalog and the SAMA Website – available May 4, 2017! 

Mosaic Arts International: Site-Specific

Mosaic Arts International 2017: Best Site-Specific Mosaic
Carole Choucair Oueijan
Temple City Today
5 panels along Rosemead Blvd. in Temple City, California
Each panel is 44″h x 22″w
Smalti, marble, granite, Cristallino, Millefiori, iridescent tile, pebbles and other glass

The work that best satisfied the criteria in the site-specific category was “ Temple City Today”, by Carole Choucair Oueijan comprised of five mosaic works.  The submittal was professionally organized, clearly described and well photographed to fully communicate the information in this work.  The artist’s technical proficiency and artistic expression was impressive as each mural was original and romantically depicted the history of the City through a diverse choice of mosaic materials.  I was able to step inside the individual panels and was mesmerized by the mosaic artistry in the dancer’s sandal, boy’s backpack and hot-rod headlights. The mosaic murals appear to be a painting from a distance and upon close inspection one is able to appreciate and be in awe of the artist’s skilled use of color, shading, technique and material in achieving their vision. This is an extremely successful mosaic art work which results in a memorable experience by engaging the public as the panels are installed along a major boulevard that transverses the City, and encourages both pedestrian and community connectivity while reflecting pride in the local history.  Susan Goldberg.


Mosaic Arts International 2017: Best Community Mosaic
Tamara Froud
Creekmouth Heritage Mosaic
Public artwork installed in the Creekmouth area of Barking in the East of London. UK
1.7m H X 6m W
Glazed ceramic tile, printed ceramic tile, mirror, glass tile

For the Best in Community Design my selection was based on how successfully the artist was able to engage the community resulting in a project that reflected and enhanced their identity and place.   It was also important that the selection in this category could provide an example of ideas and strategies for other community projects.

The Creekmouth Heritage Mosaic, by Tamara Froud,  was poetically representative of a historic span of time and stylistically recalled the Federal Arts project WPA murals (Works Progress Administration) of the 1930s.  The artist depicted the history of a famous ship which sank in nearby waters as well as represented what was probably the biggest commercial employer in this area during the early industrial years in this village. The artist cleverly documented oral histories in the river tile, further enhancing the community’s sense of pride and heritage resulting in a mural which serves as a focal point of this community.  I thank the artist for including people actively engaged in looking at the mural and identifying  some of the residents who had provided informational history of this village. Kudos to this artist for maintaining a high quality of artistic integrity in a community collaborative design. Susan Goldberg


Mosaic Arts International 2017, Juror’s Choice: Susan Goldberg
Bonnie Fitzgerald
Palmer Park Community Center
Landover, Maryland
10′ h X 19′ w
stained glass

Another submittal in this category worth noting for its ingenuity and skill are the seven stained glass mosaic murals constructed for the Palmer Park Community Center, by Bonnie Fitzgerald. The difficulty in the stairwell installation and how this artwork would be viewed was expertly addressed both in the material choices and artistic representation.  This artist has clearly mastered an elegant and refined simplicity in the linework depicting each of the figures bodies and movement (almost Miro-esque) while also rendering a sophisticated detailing of fabric in the subtle use of color and shading.  I returned several times focusing on the details to discover new textures and the skilled planning of assemblage of the art.  Susan Goldberg

The Mosaic Arts International: Site Specific exhibition will feature the work of the following artists:

Deb Aldo, Sterling, Connecticut
Marc Archambault, Asheville, North Carolina
Carole Choucair Oueijan, Hacienda Heights, California
Bonnie Cohen, Akron, Ohio
Bonnie Fitzgerald, Oakton, Virginia
Tamara Froud, London, United Kingdom
Carrie Gault, Floyd, Virginia
Eileen Gay, Sparks, Nevada
Sherri Warner Hunter, Bell Buckle, Tennessee

All work will be presented in the 2017 Mosaic Arts International Catalog and the SAMA Website – available May 4, 2017! 





About Janice Charach Gallery

The Janice Charach Gallery provides a forum for the creation, exhibition and interpretation of visually oriented media. We promote works of fine art created by Jewish and non-Jewish artists providing unique opportunities for emerging and acknowledged artists.

The Janice Charach Gallery at the JCC in West Bloomfield was established and named in the memory of the daughter of Natalie and Manny Charach. A talented and recognized artist, Janice passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June of 1989. She was 38 years old.

Special Appreciation to the following Exhibition Sponsors

Bank of America

Barbara & Douglas Bloom

Natalie, Manny & Jeffrey Charach

E*TRADE Financial

Nancy & James Grosfeld

Esther Hankin

Extra Appreciation to the Chicago Mosaic School for assistance in coordinating and installing the work of Verdiano Marzi

About SAMA

The Society of American Mosaic Artists (SAMA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and promoting excellence in the mosaic arts.

SAMA was founded in 1999 by a small group of mosaic artists who wanted a venue through which they could share their knowledge, expertise, and interest in mosaic art—this most ancient of art forms that was experiencing a significant contemporary revival.

Today, seventeen years later, we remain a vibrant and ever-expanding group of more than 900 members, including mosaic artists at all levels, mosaic aficionados, collectors, materials suppliers, and art educators. We have put renewed emphasis on strengthening ties with other mosaic organizations around the globe to pursue common goals and developing new programs relevant to our diverse membership.


Society of American Mosaic Artists
PO Box 624
Ligonier, PA  15658

Contact Dawnmarie Zimmerman for images: