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Sacred Heart University Chapel Baptismal Font

Sacred Heart University Chapel Baptismal Font

Sacred Heart University Chapel Baptismal Font

Fairfield, Connecticut

Creative Director, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Client: Sacred Heart University, Fairfield CT

Sacred Heart University’s Campus Chapel of the Holy Spirit is a stunning work of contemporary architecture, designed by the award-winning international architecture firm of Sasaki Associates.  Occupying a prominent position on the campus quadrangle, it’s massive bells toll the hours and call the community to prayerfulness throughout the day.  The Chapel’s main worship space holds a treasury of dazzling mosaics created by the famed Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, who has created mosaics at the Redemptoris Mater Chapel in Vatican City, St. Hugo Church in Rome, and many other holy sites throughout Europe, Russia, Syria, and Slovenia.  Fairfield County Connecticut is fortunate to have two Father Rupnik masterpieces; the Sacred Heart University Chapel and The Knights of Colombus’ Headquarters Chapel in New Haven.

Asked by the university to complete a baptismal font mosaic that would highlight the chapel entryway, Modern Mosaic Arts created a stunning golden waterfall of smalti tile surrounding the image of the Holy Spirit; a single white dove.  Complementing the mosaics of Father Rupnik, the font was designed, fabricated and installed by Cathleen Newsham, owner of Modern Mosaic Arts.

Sacred Heart University’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit’s main chapel mosaics by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik

The Design Process

For many years the baptismal font stood in the chapel entryway awaiting the finishing touch of a mosaic insert.  Once hired for the project, Modern Mosaic Arts began the design process by creating templates of the areas where the mosaic would be applied.  Wanting to create an image that would reflect the name of the chapel, a single white dove was decided to be the focal point of the basin; the symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Choosing the tiles, then reversing the image, Newsham began the fabrication process st her studio in the reverse indirect method.  Adhering the tiles face down to the paper templates, the dove and golden water falls radiating from the bird began to form.

Installing the mosaics onto the font was the next step, placing the mosaics template side up into a bed of waterproof thin-set.  After allowing the thin-set to dry, the template paper was removed by wetting the paper.

The final step was grouting the mosaics with a cream colored mixture that Newsham chose to match the color of the granite stone surrounding the mosaic.

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

NYU Langone, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital Mosaics

New York, N.Y.

Our latest project was fabricating and installing five mosaic murals for the beautiful new NYU Langone, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital Pavilion.  A state of the art facility located in Manhattan at the corner of 34th & 1st Ave, the hospital was designed with the needs of children and families in mind.  The pediatric specialists provide the most advanced inpatient and outpatient care for children who have rare and complex conditions, as well as more common childhood illnesses.  For more information about this incredible new facility, click HERE.

Creative Director, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Lead Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Jonathan Schreyer

Mosaic Artist:  Liadain Clancy

Mosaic Artsist:  Jasmine Jacobs

Installer:  Greg Hare

Client:  Dimensional Communications, Inc.

Contractor:  Turner Construction Company

Architects:  Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnerships

The ground floor lobby, which can be accessed on 34th street, welcomes patients and families with a replica of Lady Liberty made entirely of LEGO bricks.  The statue originally was created for the Toys R Us location at Times Square, but was purchased by the hospital when the store closed.  Surrounded by a bench in the shape of a star, Modern Mosaic Arts was commissioned to make a mosaic to cover the bench face.  Using Italian smalti, the artists created and installed a mosaic that replicates the look of the legos and complements the colors of the statue and upholstery.
In addition to the star bench mosaic, Modern Mosaic Arts was also asked to cover the face of a 60 foot long bench in a playful wave design that curves behind the Statue of Liberty.  Fabricating the mosaic of Italian smalti tile, the entire lobby pays tribute to the most recognized symbol or New York city while providing plenty of seating area for patients and families.
The elevator bank in the 7th floor lobby is surrounded by a custom built facade replicating New York City’s famed Grand Central Station, the hub of subway transportation that links Manhattan and the four outer boroughs.  Created by the talented carpenters at Dimensional Communications, the structure’s upper frieze is an 80 foot long mosaic of subway tracks that glistens with thousands of tiny glass tiles, each hand set by Modern Mosaic’s artists.
Anyone who has visited Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan will recognize the replica of the famed Prometheus sculpture behind the 7th floor reception desk.   Sculpted by the talented artist Hilda Borem, the golden figure floats gracefully over a mosaic background that features the signature greenery of the plaza area, and sparkles with flecks of gold smalti.
The 7th floor reading nook is designed to give patients and their siblings a private play area.  Modern Mosaic Arts created a charming mosaic that fits perfectly into the arched nook under the stairwell, and depicts a subway platform complete with characters awaiting their trains.

Prospector Theater Fireplace Mosaic

Prospector Theater Fireplace Mosaic

Prospector Theater Fireplace Mosaic

Ridgefield, CT

Designer, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Cathleen Newsham

Designer, Mosaic Artist and Installer:  Claudia Schattman

Client:  The Prospector Theater, Valerie Jensen, Founder

Architects:  Doyle | Coffin Architecture

Architectural Awards:  2016 HGTV Faces of Design Finalist: Posh Public Spaces, 2015 CODA Award Top 100, 2017 ACEC Merit Award, 2015 AIA Connecticut Design Award, 2016 AIA Connecticut Business Architecture Award

Cathleen Newsham teamed up with fellow artist Claudia Schattman in 2014 for a commission by Prospector Theater founder, Valerie Jensen, to create a mosaic for the theater’s freestanding fireplace. The theater, which opened in Ridgefield in November 2014, delivers a unique movie-going experience and honors its mission to provide vocational training and employment for adults with disabilities. Jensen requested two things of Newsham and Schattman: that they create a mosaic around the theme of “infinite possibility” and that they incorporate in the work dozens of Special Olympic medals that had been donated by athletes. Newsham and Schattman decided to create the mosaic using the French “Pique Assiette” method, which combines broken ceramics with found objects, a perfect style for the eclectic project.  The artists used the medals to represent stars – a literal nod to Hollywood, as well as a figurative reference to the theater’s mission: to reach for the stars. Color fields of blues and greens are made from hand cut glass, pottery, and ceramic tiles (made by the pair in their studio), while found objects and other treasures build the story.  Scattered throughout the work are words and phrases that convey the theater’s philosophy. The result is a giant “I Spy” experience.


“Creativity, conversation and continual discovery are the results of the stunning fireplace mosaic crafted by the talented ladies of Modern Mosaic Arts.  This interactive artwork inspires all who engage with it.  It is a stunning up-cycled mission based treasure!”     

Valerie Jensen, founder of The Prospector Theater