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The 50th Anniversary Grand Finale

The finished installation at the Brandywine campus. Wilmington University commissioned local artist Celeste Kelly to create a commemorative mosaic for the 50th anniversary of the university. The finished work can be seen at Jack P.Varsalona Hall at the Brandywine campus. Staff and faculty were involved in creating tiles that became a part of the finished mosaic.

A pictorial of art in action: A work that represents WilmU’s past, present and future

Colorful mosaic featuring the WilmU clock tower

After a  year of celebrating Wilmington University’s 50th anniversary, there needed to be a grand finale — a way to symbolize the vibrancy of our students, faculty and staff, and to honor employees who have passed. It would be a work of art reflective of WilmU’s culture and service to students.

Local artist Celeste Kelly was commissioned to convey that emotion. She designs and teaches mosaics as a visiting Artist in Residence, and her recent artist-student collaborations appear in Maryland, Hockessin (Delaware), and both Avon Grove and Haverford, Pennsylvania. According to her website, Kelly loves to “break things up and rearrange them into her own traffic-stopping creations.” When you look at the innumerable pieces of glass and “things” in her mosaics, you realize that this is an accurate description.

“Celeste is a highly regarded master artist and expert in the mosaic genre,” says Dr. Sallie Reissman, assistant vice president and dean of the College of Online and Experiential Learning. (She coordinated the project.) “She’s able to take a concept and create a masterpiece that brings joy to those fortunate enough to see it. Her website tag line is ‘Mosaic that stops traffic.’ I couldn’t agree more.” 

Kelly grew to understand the importance of what she was doing. “I’m so happy I was able to highlight Wilmington University’s 50-year milestone with my mosaic,” she says. 

The finished piece graces Varsalona Hall at Wilmington University Brandywine.

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