AUBURN | Just one last step is needed for the newest Auburn community mosaic project to come to life.

Volunteers finished up the gluing phase on the mosaic project titled "The Tree of Life," which is located on the wall of The Citizen's building on Dill Street facing State Street. Work initially began on Saturday and volunteers returned Sunday morning to finish up.

Now all that's left is the grouting process, which will take place around 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 13.

The project is being done in memory of Sam Kennedy, founder of  Auburn Players Community Theater, who passed away in February 2012. Many slates and pieces of the mosaic are dedicated to points in Kennedy's professional life as a director, playwright and author as well as a father and grandfather to members of his family.

An ovular plate with his name, including his birth and death years, has been placed toward the center of the project.

Project manager Jesse Kline said volunteers must have glued about 40 to 50 pieces or more per square foot on the 6-feet tall, 10-feet wide mosaic. Taking two days to glue the pieces on instead of one allowed project members to do solid quality control in making sure each area looked as clean as it could, she said.

"I think the process went really well," Kline said.

Volunteers will grout the piece two weeks from now after the mosaic solidifies. Grouting involves mixing the dry grout with pure pigment to get three colors: blue, green and black.

Kline said the blue will be used for the sky, the green for the grass and leaves while the black will be used for the trunk and branches on the tree.

"I'm just extremely excited to see the new mosaic," Kline said. "I'm also very grateful for all of the help from the volunteers. Memories and new friends were made."

As volunteers worked, several passers-by stopped to admire the mosaic at its current state of completion. Some drivers going down State Street toward Curley's Restaurant slowed to get a good look, while others honked in appreciation or rolled down their windows to take a picture.

Passer-by Sally Swizdor, of Auburn, said she came by Saturday and saw the volunteers hard at work. She said the mosaic is a good representation of Auburn community-based optimism and interest.

"I think the enthusiasm of the community is represented by this project," she said.

A date of Sunday, July 14 has been set in case of inclement weather on the day of the grouting.

Staff writer Greg Mason can be reached at 282-2239 or Follow him on Twitter @CitizenMason.

(1) comment


The Auburn Players Community Theatre started more than 50 years ago when Sam Kennedy, then Managing Editor, placed an ad in The Auburn Citizen. The rest, as they say, is history.

What a fitting tribute for The Auburn Players to sponsor such a community project in his memory on The Citizen Building. The mosaic tiles represent the thousands of lives he has touched.

Always in our thoughts Sam! Thank you!

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