ROSWELL, Ga. — Another piece of public art has been permanently added to Canton Street. The Heart of Roswell Bench has been placed just feet away from Sentience, a giant flower sculpture recently purchased by the Roswell Arts Fund.
Created by local mosaic artist Jennifer Freeman, the heart-shaped bench invites people to sit down or take a photo while visiting the Historic District. The design was in part inspired by the city’s logo and incorporates ripples of water with colorful, abstract water wheels.
“We originally decided on a heart design, based on the work’s location at the Heart of Roswell Park,” Freeman said. “I then presented several mosaic designs to the city, and we settled on the final one with the thought that it represented the Chattahoochee River running through Roswell, combined with the fact that Roswell was originally a mill town — hence, the stylized ‘mill wheels’ in the mosaic design.”
The design was finalized with input from the Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs department, with approval from the Roswell Recreation Commission. It was constructed in October and unveiled during the 67th annual Frances McGahee Youth Day Parade.
To construct the piece, Freeman first built a metal skeleton, and local craftsman Russell Thomas built a heart substrate. Freeman then created the mosaic itself on fiberglass mesh at her studio. Russell poured the solid concrete bench and tiled it before freeman installed the heart over it.
“I particularly love creating large-scale mosaic work for public places,” Freeman said. “I find that the viewing public is often delighted to view what they think is a painting, or sculptural work, and then to discover — on closer inspection — that it is made up of thousands of individual pieces. It is an ancient art form with some wonderful contemporary interpretations.”
Freeman has been creating mosaics for over 20 years and has studied in Ravenna, Italy and at Domus Orsoni in Venice. She currently has permanent public artwork on display in Atlanta, Norcross, Duluth and Johns Creek. Likewise, she has participated in the Suwanee SculpTour several times. Her artwork ranges from floor medallions and wall pieces to benches and sculptural work at these locations.
Freeman currently owns an art studio, Mosaic Odyssey, in Duluth and is a member of the Society of American Mosaic Artists.
The bench is part of the larger Public Art Master Plan, set forth by the Roswell Arts Fund, to introduce art that reflects Roswell’s history, creates meeting spaces and embraces the city’s spirit. The plan currently defines murals and mosaics as high priority projects, as well as locations such as gateways, parks and along the river.
To see more of Freeman’s work, visit mosaicodyssey.com.