Wyckoff Library’s Thinking Path was created by Matthew Salisbury, BSA Troop 89, for his Eagle Scout Project in June 2012. A Thinking Path is a labyrinth, a circular path you follow until you reach the center, and reverse to find your way out. We created it for you to walk while thinking in a serene and peaceful way. Our labyrinth is located to the right of the library, just beyond the ceramic planters.
On Friday, May 9, 2014, Wyckoff Library unveiled a triptych of five-foot by three-foot ceramic-tile mosaic panels in our Labyrinth Garden. This permanent outdoor installation, entitled “A World of Potential: Imagination – Exploration – Communication” was created by nationally prominent mosaic artist Rhonda Heisler of Skillman, NJ, to recognize the many contributions a library makes to its community.
In addition to the panels, Ms. Heisler created two matching ceramic planters called “The Beauty of Flowers.” The planters are 27 inches tall, 20 inches in diameter, and flank the entrance to the Labyrinth Garden to draw visual attention from the library’s parking lot toward this secluded, quiet space.
The project was financed by a $15,000 donation in memory of Wyckoff resident and library and arts patron Rita S. Berkowitz by her husband, Bernard S. Berkowitz, and children Robert L. and Nina A. Sobel and Richard D. and Gail M. Sobel.
The product of more than a year of planning, the commission sprang from the long association Rita Berkowitz had with the Friends of the Wyckoff Library. Each year, she faithfully purchased a membership and was frequently their largest donor. Library staff also remember her fondly from her regular visits to the library. Rita was an active supporter of many causes, chief among them the Montclair Art Museum “Art in Bloom” exhibit, which she chaired or cochaired several times. Art in Bloom was the museum’s largest fund-raising vehicle, during which elaborate floral displays were created to complement specific works of art in the museum’s collection. This event appealed greatly to Rita’s joint passions for art and flowers, as she also served as president of the Montclair Garden Club earlier in her life.
When Rita passed away in July 2012 at age 83 following a battle with cancer, the Friends of the Wyckoff Library ran a respectful obituary of her in their newsletter and sent a note of condolence to Bernard, Rita’s husband of 36 years. He was so touched by the gesture that he reached out to Friends treasurer Beth Wharton with an offer to fund a library project in Rita’s memory.
The Friends of the Wyckoff Library were instrumental every step of the way in managing this project. They funded the cost of the installation, the bronze plaque hung next to the panels, and the landscaping in the Labyrinth Garden. The Wyckoff Garden Club has also gotten involved, agreeing to design and install an arrangement of perennial plants in the planters at the end of May.
A former book editor, Rhonda Heisler started out in mosaics making functional pieces, such as mirrors and tables. She turned her hobby into a full-time business about 12 years ago and evolved as an artist into creating fine-art mosaics in both representational and abstract designs. Dozens of her pieces have been purchased by private collectors and shown in galleries and shows throughout the United States. She also specializes in site-specific mosaic installations, including at Atlanticare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City, onboard the Seabourn Spirit cruise ship, and at the Hilton Parc Soleil resort in Orlando, FL. She is a member and former officer of the Society of American Mosaic Artists and her work has been featured numerous times in SAMA’s international juried exhibitions. For more information, go to rhondaheislermosaicart.com.
Please take a look the next time you come to the library–the work’s beauty will stop you in your tracks, guaranteed!