The new, shiny and surprisingly large mosaic hanging in Baltimore County Police Precinct 4 is a gift to the officers from a group of 60 third-graders from Krieger Schechter Day School and Milbrook Elementary School as a way of building community and honoring local law enforcement.
The mosaic, which was dedicated on June 9. is a collection of tiles meant to represent the stories of the students.
“Just having two schools in the same community come together is really cool,” said Officer Larry Stallings, who was one of the main liaisons from the precinct with the schools. “And the final mosaic is really beautiful.”
The idea for the project came Rabbi Moshe Schwartz, head of school for Krieger Schechter who was inpsired by his daughter Liba, a KSDS third-grader. One day when he was home with her, Liba decided she wanted to write letters and bake cookies for police officers — so they did.
“It was just such a sweet thing,” he said. “And that got me thinking, ‘Hey, we need to do something to support our law enforcement.’ We all share this community.”
To make it truly a community project, Schwartz partnered with Milbrook and CHAI, which put him in touch with the Art with a Heart program in Baltimore and whose goal is improve lives through art.
The resulting project took place in three sessions over this past school year — one at KSDS, one at Milbrook and one at Art with a Heart headquarters in Hampden. Students were paired up (one KSDS student with one Milbrook student) and explored the meaning of community and what it means to be a part of a community. Woven throughout was the artistic expression from the students who put together the mosaic.
“It’s an appreciation of the diversity of our community and the unique role law enforcement plays,” Schwartz said. “We all live in the same community, and the police protect us all.”
According to Stallings, the mosaic now hangs in a hallway where all officers pass it on the way to their lockers and any visitors to the conference room or captain’s office see it. And the officers love it, he added.
“There was a lot of negativity at the time this started, and this was a really positive thing,” he said.