Tieton bringing mosaics to town

TIETON, Wash. -- The City of Tieton just began a series of road construction projects for the summer ... but the sidewalks aren't the only improvements being made this year. Tieton city leaders have a new vision for their community, coming up with new and creative ways to prosper.

A project that will soon hit the streets -- city signs, designed by the only mosaic typography studio in the nation.

"The town is small enough that small changes like this can make a big difference to people's perception of it," said Ed Marquand, Mighty Tieton co-founder.

In July of 2013, the National Endowment of the Arts awarded a $50,000 grant to launch the "Tieton Mosaic Project." Nearly two years later, about another $100,000 raised through donations. In the studio, artisans are now busy putting the pieces together.

Tieton Mosaic Project will produce six typographic mosaics for the city. It's inspired by the New York City subway system mosaics and local fruit label designs. Signs will be installed around Tieton landmarks.

"The mosaics represent such a huge opportunity because I've never seen anything like them anywhere else," said Liz Woodward, Tieton Arts and Humanities co-director.

As one project takes motion, community leaders will soon fundraise for another. The goal is to use about 42,000 stamp-sized pieces of glass to transform the front of the post office. They hope to make it a historical landmark, one capturing the attention of the nation.

Business leaders hope the investment will build a strong reputation for Tieton-made goods. "Their awareness of Tieton increases, but also their perception that this is a place where hand-made quality objects come from," said Marquand.

Tieton City Mayor Stanley R. Hall said the city also has plans for a new basketball court and are looking to build an additional park.

Finished signs will be revealed during Tieton's annual Community Days at the end of August.