Clay • Sculpture • Innovation
PVCC Student Services Specialist, Sylvia Fugmann Brongo and an artist-in-residence at Paradise Valley Community College, has created a ceramic wall mural for display on campus to celebrate diversity at PVCC and the pathway to higher education. The mural is made of  hand-crafted, inlaid and grouted ceramic tile accents that defines the textures of cactus and desert fauna, combined with simplified human figurative forms in varying poses and distinguished features representing diversity. The ceramic sculpture is approximately 36” tall x 48” wide, and displayed as a permanent piece of art on campus. The official unveiling of the mural will be May 1, 2013, coinciding with the college’s annual year-end student art exhibit. “These elements will be combined in layers along a visual pathway to illustrate the broadening of a simplified human form to a more complex human form that is designed to illustrate the evolution towards higher education,” she says. “It is my hope to create a tangible piece of art that reflects these issues, and to inspire dialog about diversity in everyone’s life, and how the celebration of diversity can enrich us all on our pathway to higher education.”  Brongo has been an artist expressing visual diversity over a 29 year career of creating ceramic art. “I find it fascinating that creating art pieces in clay can be so versatile. Working in clay, one learns that it can take on any impression, showing textures that expresses, calmness, harmony, sensuality, anger and other diverse emotions. Forms and shapes can be created by many techniques. I choose to hand build these pieces with slabs or coils of clay,” she says. “I celebrate my environment and my experiences in life through my art work. As a relatively new resident of the Sonoran desert, living in Cave Creek, Arizona, I am finding joy in translating the natural environment around me. I observe mountains, saguaro and many other cactus, plants, trees and rock. I see contrasting diverse elements in the spring, when the desert blooms, as soft, delicate flowers emerge from what seems to be a foreboding, hostile surface of thorns, needles, and barbs. I enjoy observing wildlife, such as the lizards that scurry before me, as if we were in a finish line race. I admire their intricate patterns, colors and textures, and how this compliments their environment. I seek and explore these extremes in my work. I incorporate sanded smooth, softly airbrushed colors and undulating organic shapes in contrast to rough incision and pierced textures. This creates a paradox of elements that somehow transforms to harmonious, and balanced forms. Which seems to remind us that there is still beauty in what may be perceived as a challenging environment.” My current work at Paradise Valley Community College has offered me new experiences. In many ways there are parallels to both of my activities. I work in an environment with highly educated individuals, and also meet with vulnerable or reticent youth as well as adults in the community. I have the task to merge the two groups of individuals and help guide them towards educational goals. I work with extreme diversity to bridge the community together, and I feel fortunate to be the catalyst to do so,” she says. “Likewise, the youth and adults I meet are as diverse as our non-human natural environment. Not only do I have the opportunity to meet individuals of all ages, but those with varying levels of cognitive abilities, racial differences, ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, cultural demographics and more. It truly is as diverse as those before mentioned natural elements that inspire me when making my art.” Brongo says Paradise Valley Community College’s mission statement also reflects this sentiment, creating a mutual philosophy. For more information about the artist and her work, go to  www.sylvia-art.com.

Ceramic Mosaic Mural

"Passage to Realization"

Created for permenant installation at

Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ