Mosaic at Chatham Park installs interactive sculpture by prominent local artist

“Leaning In” Mosaic sculpture crafted by Theresa Arico


PITTSBORO — Mosaic, the 44-acre, $180 million entertainment and lifestyle destination that is the commercial gateway to the Chatham Park community in Pittsboro, N.C., installed a Mosaic sculpture crafted by local artist Theresa Arico. “Leaning In” is more than 12 feet tall and features a detailed Mosaic finish of tile fragments, glass beads and gems. It is a permanent installation situated near The Guild apartments. 

The piece was dedicated in a ceremony on May 15 immediately followed by a grand opening and reception at The Guild. Theresa Arico, Bubba Rawl and Kirk Bradley offered remarks at the event. 

Artist Theresa Arico is well known for her work with Mosaics, and when she saw the signage for the Mosaic development, she knew there would be a synergy between her work and the community. 

“The sculpture depicts how we as humans have a shared heart and a shared mind, that all we want is what’s beautiful for ourselves, our lives and our families,” shared Arico. 

She reached out to Mosaic Developer Kirk Bradley with information about her 2020 sculpture Leaning In.

“This interactive sculpture is a beautiful representation of our vision for Mosaic — a place where family can be together, alongside art and beauty,” commented Bradley. 

The sculpture is made of construction-grade polystyrene foam that Arico carved, then covered with a high-grade alkaline-resistant mesh and concrete that provides structural integrity. She coated the sculpture with a waterproofing membrane, and covered it with a variety of Mosaic materials, including tile pieces, stained glass, glass beads and other colorful and beautifully textured fragments. Arico finished the project with a special touch, a glow-in-the-dark additive in the grout that causes the sculpture to self-illuminate in the dark. 

Throughout the sculpture, Arico hid unique items designed to be searched for including a glass starfish, handmade bee charm, glass heart, tiny snake and a shark’s tooth and oyster shells from the North Carolina coast. 

Leaning In is sheathed over stainless steel poles mounted on a 36-inch-wide concrete platform. A six-foot circular patio surrounds the sculpture to allow visitors to interact with the art, and a nearby placard invites viewers to learn about the sculpture and find the hidden items. 

Leaning In and the other art installations throughout Mosaic and Chatham Park are part of Chatham Park’s master plan, which calls for the inclusion of public art to inspire and establish the development’s identity as well as have a positive effect on residents and visitors. Therefore, this is a very intentional commitment to incorporate and support public art. 

Under the direction of the Chatham Park Arts Advisory Board, a large sculpture by local artist Edwin White has already been installed in the Mosaic entrance roundabout, and the iconic life-size Mosaic sign near the Philip H. Kohl Mosaic Family Commons has become a favorite photo spot for visitors. 

This event lawn enables Mosaic to further engage with the arts by regularly hosting concerts and makers markets featuring Pittsboro’s local artists and makers. 

Arico’s work can be seen in public spaces throughout North Carolina: a 13-foot candle sculpture in Greensboro, Vigilance and a 10-foot-tall feather, incorporates words from Joy Harjo, the first Native American Poet Laureate. For the city of Durham, she is currently working on a set of three Mosaic-covered benches that will represent natural elements of North Carolina. 

Producer and video journalist Greg Jeske plans to feature Leaning In in a documentary about domestic migration to the American South. Chatham County is an excellent representation of the growth in North Carolina. 

Jeske filmed dozens of people, businesses and institutions across the county to capture various moments relating to progress and signs of growth. The name Leaning In caught his attention, and the meaning behind the sculpture resonates with the central theme of “progress” in the film.