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Adler Aphasia Center


“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with One Single Step”

Mrs. Adler’s words said it all…. “It is exactly what I wished for…A HAPPY WALL!”

The Adler Aphasia Center in Maywood, NJ. provides help for those living with aphasia and their caregivers. To celebrate their 15th anniversary, I was commissioned to design a mosaic mural to honor their generous donors and founders, Elaine and Mike Adler.

This was one of the most rewarding projects I’ve worked on. Everyone who participated saw how art can bring people together to heal, to energize and bring joy into our lives.

I designed the artistic concept with input from the Adler staff, including art and speech therapists. The design featured a winding pathway through a garden of mosaic flowers featuring the quote, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

During a two-day artist in residency, I worked with the staff, volunteers, and members of the center to create mosaic flower motifs. Since most of the participants were only able to work with one hand, the project was specifically designed to accommodate their physical limitations. Many of the tiles were pre-cut and the flower motifs were created using pre-drawn patterns and an adhesive mesh material. With helpful advice from the staff about communicating with people with aphasia, I created an instructional video with clear, simple directions about the project for everyone to see before I arrived.

After 2 exciting days of art workshops, we packed and shipped over 70 flower motifs back to my studio in Ohio, where I added mosaic leaves, stems and background colors to complete the picture. The incredible staff even arranged a time to Skype so everyone could see my progress as I put the mural together in my studio.

Executive Director Karen Tucker said,” We love how the wall has inspired our donors, the pride the members have taken in pointing out the flowers they crafted, and the warm and welcoming feeling it exudes when any person walks in the Center. It was such a pleasure from beginning to end to work with you and the team at Welch Sign. The process and the wall you and the members and volunteers created says so much about who we are and how we want all those that enter our program to feel as they navigate life with aphasia”.

The upbeat attitude of the members and  the dedicated volunteers made this project a success. The staff and leadership had a vision, the Welch Company designed and engineered the construction and the installation and I was truly honored to be able to help create this “happy wall.”

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