Prospector Theater

Ridgefield, Connecticut


“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



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.

The fireplace surround is an ideal surface to mosaic. The options are limitless. The design can come from a fabric swatch, a piece of vintage or contemporary wallpaper, a favorite china pattern, or the china itself can be featured.  The mosaic design can be bold and bright, or muted and natural. Collections, new and old, can inspire the design: pebbles and shells, reminders of a favorite venue; old glass bottles; watch faces and watch parts; keys; coins…anything else that is meaningful to you. And don’t forget the hearth. Mosaic the hearth with a repeated pattern or element from the surround. The hearth mosaic, unlike the fireplace surround, would have to be flat to avoid stubbed toes and falls.