Nearly three years after the project began, the Green Man mosaic is on display at Cedar Park in Melrose. A community art project curated by Melrose artist Lisa Tiemann, the Green Man is a 5-foot by 5-foot mosaic based on the mythical green man.
Originally conceived as a 70th birthday present to herself, Tiemann and 35 artists (amateur and professional) from the Malden-Melrose area worked to put this collaborative project on display, which depicts humans’ intertwined relationship with nature. The installation of the artwork was financially supported through grants and private donors, while the mosaic itself is a donation from Tiemann and the participating artists. For the full story behind the project’s origins, see this previous article in Neighborhood View.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and New England weather, getting the Green Man installed at Cedar Park has been a long process. Tiemann says that “it’s kind of fitting that mother nature had the final word on the installation.”
The installation of the Green Man was supposed to take place in fall of 2020, and was further delayed because of a snow storm in December. Rain and a three-day heat wave in the late spring also caused delays. Finally, the Green Man was completed on June 11, 2021.
Tiemann has worked on hundreds of other art commissions, including the Turtle Stepping Stones mosaic project at Ell Pond, and continues to work on new projects.
Tiemann is very relieved that the Green Man is finally in his home. “[I am] really glad to be able to move on to other projects and [to have] the free space in my studio,” Tiemann said. She said that it’s “gratifying that [she has] received a lot of positive feedback already on Facebook and other places.”
Tiemann hopes that children who see the Green Man will enjoy finding all of the animals in the mosaic. There are “14 birds, four reptiles, two mammals, one amphibian, several insects and countless plants”[SB1] [SB2] she said. Tiemann also hopes that the small farmers from the Melrose Farmers Market will enjoy and relate to the mosaic as well.
“Small farmers are already green men and women. They are intimate with nature. They get up when the cows need milking and plants need watering, cycles of the season, they know all of that,” Tiemann said.
She believes the Green Man is a reminder to people of the beauty and nature in the world that surrounds us. As people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and communities start to come together again, Tiemann believes that people “long for connection with the beauties of nature” and the Green Man is “just a little reminder that it’s there for us and we can just really enjoy it.”
Later this summer, possibly in August, Tiemann hopes to have a small outdoor Green Man festival at Cedar Park. Tiemann hopes that the festival can be an event where “All of the artists can come together, have a little bit of music, dancing and fantasy kind of stuff going on.”
As for her other art-related projects, Tiemann is looking forward to finishing a hanging stain-glass panel of a golden retriever. She has also come up with ideas for more community-based art projects, similar to the Green Man, with people in Malden.
She emphasizes that “[She] had so much fun with [the Green Man project]” and that “there is a lot more interest now in doing more [community art projects], so I’m hoping to start something up in the fall.
If anyone is interested in participating in one of Lisa’s future community arts projects, you can reach out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read the background article on this project here. Listen to an interview with artist Lisa Tiemann and her reflections on art, nature and community in this featured episode of the podcast “Culture Matters in Malden.“