Nahant artwork spans three seas

Artist Stacey Wilson-McMahon unveils the Three Seas mosaics.


NAHANT — Three of the world’s seascapes translated into art are the latest addition to Northeastern University’s Marine Science Center thanks to dedication by local children who worked through spring vacation to complete the 30,000-piece mosaics.

The three mosaics depict coastal habitats of New England, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Northwest. They were unveiled in a Thursday night ceremony Kemari McCauley of Marblehead attended with friends and classmates.

“I think it’s a good thing because people are going to understand the oceans more if they can look at the art,” said McCauley, 10.

Working under the direction of artist Stacey Wilson-McMahon, who is also the director of Apatchworks, the middle and high school students attached thousands of small bisazza tiles from Italy to create the mosaics representing Northeastern University’s Three Seas program. Undergraduate and graduate students in the program live and study in New England, Caribbean, and Pacific Northwest coastal habitats throughout the course of a year.

Apatchworks is a nonprofit organization with a goal to create vibrant spaces in hospitals that might otherwise seem dreary or scary to children.

Wilson-McMahon began working on the project nearly two years ago with members of Girls Inc. of Lynn’s Beach Sisters organization, a six-week program that focuses on STEAM, or science, technology, engineering, art and math. In 2015, a group of girls spent about seven hours working to complete the first of the three mosaics.

Because Wilson-McMahon lives in France, the project took a hiatus until April vacation approached. Youth from Lynn, Marblehead, Malden and other North Shore and Greater Boston communities opted to spend their break learning about science and creating art. The group completed the final two mosaics to complete the project.

“The kids spent some time on science and some on art,” said Val Perini, who coordinates outreach programs for k through 12 at the Marine Science Center. “They spent half the day learning about these habitats and then put what they learned into art.”

The three mosaics hang side by side within the center’s bunker.

“This bunker doesn’t always look cozy,” said Dr. Geoff Trussell, director of the Marine Science Center. “I think using artwork to express marine science is a good way to capture interest in marine science.”

He encouraged the youngsters to consider a career in the field, adding that he changed his mind many times before settling on Marine Science at the end of college.

Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.

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