Cedar-Isles-Dean artist creates ‘Heart of Uptown’

Stacia Goodman's new piece will sit outside new MoZaic East building

Cedar-Isles-Dean resident Stacia Goodman designed and built a 19,000-tile mosaic heart sculpture for developer Ackerberg's new MoZaic East office building.

Cedar-Isles-Dean resident Stacia Goodman has been making art for public spaces, including office buildings, hospitals and airport terminals, for nearly 10 years.

Her latest piece will be among her most notable yet.

Goodman’s latest sculpture, called “Heart of Uptown,” will be installed outside of The Ackerberg Group’s new MoZaic East office building in Uptown later this year. The work includes 19,000 colorful mosaic tiles pieced together in a heart shape, with panels of mirror spread throughout. Passers-by will be able to place their hands on a sensor panel on the 12-foot-tall sculpture and interior speakers will play back their heartbeats.

Goodman said the work is the first interactive mosaic sculpture she knows of.

“It’s a bit of an experiment,” she said. “But it will be a really great piece of public art for people to enjoy on many sensory levels.”

Public art has been Goodman’s calling for the past 10 years, ever since she created a two-story-tall mosaic for Kenwood Community School’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2009. Goodman has since created works for schools, community centers, churches and even the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where a pair of her mosaic murals is permanently on display.

Goodman is not a formally trained artist. Her passion for mosaics stems from a beginner’s mosaic class she took about 15 years ago. She said she realized immediately that she loved making mosaics more than other mediums she had tried.

“I see the world in patterns,” Goodman said. “Mosaics let me create them, working directly with my hands and tools and preferably getting messy in the process.”

Goodman’s relationship with Ackerberg started about five years ago, she said, after CEO Stuart Ackerberg saw her mural at the St. Louis Park Rec Center. She subsequently created a bulletin board mural for the lower level of Calhoun Square, which Ackerberg owns, and another mural for the lobby space of a building on Lagoon Avenue.

“He’s really kind of a dream client,” Goodman said of Stuart Ackerberg.

According to Goodman, Stuart Ackergberg got the idea of a heart-shaped sculpture for MoZaic East while on vacation in Mexico. She said the company gave her wide latitude to create the heart how she saw fit, which was abstract, contemporary and urban.

Marc Basara, development associate for Ackerberg, said the company wanted a mosaic piece for MoZaic East, which made Goodman a logical choice for the project. He said the company liked Goodman’s proposal and added that it typically tries to give its artists freedom to shape the pieces in their vision.

Goodman hired the Mendota Heights-based company TivoliToo to make the fiberglass form that comprises the sculpture’s inner structure. She is working with a German engineer on the interactive hand sensors.

She said the sculpture fits into her philosophy about art, which is to bring it to places where people work, shop and play. It’s a philosophy that stems from her rural upbringing, when she didn’t have access to art, she said.

“Art should be accessible to all people and all locations, regardless of their circumstances,” she said.

Goodman typically works to include “upcycled,” or discarded items, in her pieces, such as the discarded pencils and coffee mugs she used in her Kenwood mural, for example. She said her advice to aspiring artists would be to understand that there will be rejections along the way, noting that she receives a number of rejections for every project application she submits.

Jamie Marshall, executive director of St. Louis Park Friends of the Arts, said he enjoys how strategic and thoughtful Goodman is about incorporating her pieces into the venues in which they sit.

“She really makes sure to connect with the space and the people who will be there,” he said.

Basara said Goodman thinks about the big picture with her pieces and how they will maintain and hold up in the future for all to enjoy. He noted Goodman’s strong partnership with her husband, Len, with whom she works to execute her projects.

Ackerberg would like to have “Heart of Uptown” installed before Christmas, Goodman said. Basara said MoZaic East would be open by the end of October.