Mosaic reflects Jacksonville’s growing public art collection

When you think about what’s happening under a bridge, storybook scenes of trolls might come to mind—or perhaps more sobering visions of seedier activity.

But under the Main Street Bridge on the newly reconstructed South Bank Riverwalk near Friendship Fountain, a sparkling, glittering mosaic beckons visitors to enter its real-world fairytale atmosphere.

“Mirrored River: Where Do You See Yourself?” stretches 64 feet in mirror, ceramic tile, glass tile, and pebbles, forming a satellite image of the St. Johns River, one Jacksonville’s greatest assets. The artwork is part of the Year of the River celebration by Cultural Fusion, a partnership of the city’s arts and culture institutions.

“That question—‘Where do you see yourself?’—we wanted to ask, where do you see yourself participating in making our river healthy and fabulous? Because, we have a city that’s built around a river, and it’s pretty amazing,” Kate Rouh, one of the mosaic’s creators, said during the dedication ceremony at the Museum of Science and History. “Not every city has a river like we have.”

Visitors will hear the rhythmic thumping of cars crossing the bridge above as they follow the wavy pattern, glimpsing reflections of the Jacksonville skyline, rippling water, and perhaps a few dolphins playing nearby. Careful observers will find five quotes about rivers hidden in the design. As the sun sets, a blue light activates, its glow amplified by the lustrous mosaic.

The mosaic’s interactivity began with how it was created. Kate and Kenny Rouh designed the mosaic and constructed it through RouxArt, their business that teaches others to make mosaic art and leads community art projects. The couple invited people to help through social media and by recruiting passersby. Over the course of 42 days, 71 people helped place tiles, with a core group of six who regularly volunteered with the Rouhs. The work was completed in June 2015.

The mosaic is the 67th work in the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville Art in Public Places collection, funded though Percent for Art, a program that requires capital construction projects to invest a percentage of funds in public art. In addition to the grant funding, the mosaic is sponsored by Interline Brands and Lee and Cates Glass, which donated the mirror.

The mosaic has already become one of the most-photographed locations in Jacksonville. Its reflection vividly captures selfies and sunsets.

Photographs by: Laura Evans Photography.

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