One of the largest works of public art in the Adirondacks is complete after 10 years


In North Creek, artist Kate Hartley has finally completed one of the largest works of public art in the North Country.

Over the past ten years, she has worked with 2,000 volunteers to create a mosaic of stone and stained glass that stretches over 180 feet along a wall in the heart of the village.

The mosaic is of an outdoor scene from the Gore Mountain area.

Former NCPR reporter Brian Mann spoke with Hartley a decade ago as she cemented some of the first pieces of glass and tile. Check it here:

Brian MannExtensive mosaic captures a perfect spring day in North Creek

Hartley has teamed up with Maria Glode, an art teacher at Johnsburg, so a generation of children can help make butterflies, fish and skiers. Image courtesy of Hartley

Now, ten years later, Monica Sandreczki has caught up with her now that it’s over. Their conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

Kate Hartley: It’s a scene that has rafting and biking and hiking as well as skiing because it’s the idealized view of a spring morning when people are on the mountain, you know, still skiing but also playing on the river and fishing and tubing and everything on the river, so and it has species of plants and animals that were created by over 2,000 people.

MONICA SANDRECZKI: I see a picture of it right now and it’s detailed! Just layers of color and images of women rolling along the river; it’s good.

Image courtesy of Kate Hartley

Image courtesy of Kate Hartley

HARTLEY: All the kids in town and a few nearby towns have also worked there over the years. So all the kids from about 10 to let’s say 23 years old worked on the mosaic and created the fish, butterflies and leaves for the trees and the clouds in the sky.

It was really exciting to work with the children as well as with the residents and the visitors, the passers-by; I would invite people to you know, “hey you wanna come and lay down tiles?” and they quite often said “yes!” and come and spend an hour and sometimes the hour has turned into three or four hours, just creating a cool little part that they can come back and visit.

SANDRECZKI: With the help of the children, did you work with the art teachers at school?

HARTLEY: Yes. Maria Glode was our teacher at the time; she has since retired.

SANDRECZKI: Looking at the mosaic, even the different shapes you use from very, very small pieces of it. Is it glass?

HARTLEY: Glass and tiles, everything must be weatherproof, of course. We use porcelain tiles, glass and stone, and even seashells that people had brought back from their travels.

SANDRECZKI: I love the Gore Mountain Mosaic and am a skier myself, so seeing these little skiers coming down the slopes is so much fun.

Mount Gore.  Image courtesy of Kate Hartley

Mount Gore. Image courtesy of Kate Hartley

HARTLEY: Because seventh and eighth graders for a few years created these skiers and snowboarders, we started with lessons on how to draw a moving person. And then over time, they created their design and then recreated it in tiles and glass. Some of them we scaled down their designs so that they are only one inch tall.

So we have these very detailed little skiers, right down to ones that are about four or five inches tall. They populate the mountains and ranges that are found on a few different walls in the mosaic project. And they just look great because we tried to have some of them that were good and some of them were beginners. So that was fun to represent as well.

SANDRECZKI: It’s awesome. And now everyone can enjoy it forever!

HARTLEY: We probably think forever, yes!


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