Completed public art installation promotes ‘unity’ in Boston

Work to install public artwork celebrating Boston's cultural heritage and encouraging ‘unity’ in the town has been completed.

The central crest of the mosaic mural at Dolphin Lane.
The central crest of the mosaic mural at Dolphin Lane.

The much-anticipated mosaic is the work of artist Karen Francesca from Boston School of Mosaic, who worked with members of the community to design and create different sections.On Friday, Karen and her team began installing the pieces across three walls in a disused courtyard area of Dolphin Lane.

The artwork features thousands of tiny hand-cut tiles, and hand-made ceramic shapes. It covers Boston's maritime history, agricultural industries, and more modern cultural diversity.

Speaking to the Standard following its completion on Monday, Karen said: “The mosaics are all up. The response we’ve had from people has been really fantastic.

Lead artist Karen Francesca stands in front of the crest mosaic artwork.

"It’s about people coming together, that’s the over-arching theme. But it’s all in the detail with this mosaic - it’s when you get up close to it that you can really read it.”

Two large mosaic pieces have been produced in the style of Medieval stained glass windows – one depicting the town’s social heritage, and the other depicting the area’s natural history and wildlife.

A spokesperson for Boston School of Mosaic said the ‘social heritage’ themed windows “represent a reverence for social connection, which is more important to our health and wellbeing than anything else”.

They added: “In this mosaic we are focusing on those who advocate and support. We’ve been working with groups for the elderly, the homeless, social prescribing, the language school, and many more over the last year.”

Boston Borough Council leader Coun Paul Skinner inspects the finished artwork.

The arched window mosaics are placed either side of the central piece – a crest for the town featuring the words ‘Unity is Strength’.

This includes a round tribute piece to nine year-old Lilia Valutyte, who was tragically murdered in the town on July 28.

Karen Francesca explained: “The final piece includes the memorial to Lilija which sits alongside the Baltic symbol of unity and the almond areole asks us to consider the experience of the indigenous people of America on the arrival of the pilgrims, and how their lives were changed for ever.”

Karen and her team also added planting to the area, including herbs, mini trees and a grapevine to grow up the wall.

Some of the mosaic pieces being installed at the site last week.

She added: “The quality of the interactions we have in working with local people in Boston has been remarkable.

“By nurturing the space, bringing it to life with plants, and through the telling of stories and subjective histories, we hope to increase both interest and empathy.’’

Transported programme manager, Rachel Bryant, said: “This work of public art is an example of what is achievable when local people, agencies, communities and organisations work together and find common themes.

"As well as the representation of what is important to local people in this heritage mosaic, we are left with a legacy for the town in the Boston School of Mosaic, who will continue to use their mosaic-making skills in other local projects.”

Close-up detail of the central part of the crest mosaic at Boston's Dolphin Lane.

The artwork was commissioned by Transported, Heritage Lincolnshire and Boston Borough Council (via National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Townscape Heritage Initiative).

The project also received help from Boston Townscape Heritage Project, Asda Foundation, Fydell House, Laticrete UK, Smartmove Hotels, and Arts Council England.