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The Story of Tyler the Turtle

Tyler the Turtle at the Growing Center

On Thursday, September 19th, Tyler the Turtle climbed to his new home at the top of the Growing Center. Tyler was sculpted and cemented by Somerville artist Emily Bhargava and tiled by more than 100 community members at fall events, summer playgroups, and other summer programs. Designed as a kid-height table, the sculpture also works as a bench and can welcome people to the garden through the fence.

The turtle was sculpted from polystyrene and covered in multiple layers of fiberglass mesh and cement before the mosaic pattern was added, a process that Emily learned from artist Sherri-Warner Hunter. All of the materials are frost-proof and should last through many New England winters. The tiles were donated originally by Artaic, a generous mosaic company in Boston, and came to us through the Beautiful Stuff Project.

This project was only possible thanks to a grant from the Somerville Arts Council and Mass Cultural Council. Their support allowed the many hours of planning, sculpting, facilitation, tiling, and grouting that went into the table. Thanks to everyone who helped with the mosaic. It took a lot of hands!

Emily and Tyler

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