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Children’s Museum of Phoenix partners with FTF to create art piece celebrating early childhood work

art shaped like state of Arizona

“There is power in many individuals working together for the greater good. This piece symbolizes that idea.” —John Bomhoff, Children’s Museum of Phoenix co-founder

A community art project created to promote how a quality early learning experiences make a difference in the lives of young children is now on display at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix through the end of the year.

Hundreds of participants at the 2018 First Things First Early Childhood Summit in August contributed a personalized mosaic piece to publicly share their commitment and vision for advancing early childhood in Arizona. The annual Summit brings together more than 1,000 early childhood professionals from all over Arizona to learn about the latest in early childhood and network.

Attendees decorated blue and green mosaic squares with personalized statements for the “Make Your Mark on AZ” art piece.

Common goal

John Bomhoff, Children’s Museum of Phoenix co-founder and art studio manager, said the collaboration with FTF resulted in a powerful community-made work of art.

“We believe in bringing diverse people together for a community art project,” Bomhoff said. “We just ask everyone to jump in and create a piece. When there are 400-500 pieces together, it really creates something magnificent. There is power in many individuals working together for the greater good. This piece symbolizes that idea.”

The 4-foot by 6-foot silhouette of Arizona has 441 individualized mosaic pieces, which Bomhoff assembled and finished with a glaze.

Children's Museum

400+ artists

Bomhoff and Beth Jenkins, art studio assistant manager at the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, created the concept.

“The challenge was to find a way hundreds of people could do art, so we chose the mosaic pieces,” Bomhoff said. “The Arizona cutout visually showcases how FTF has a positive impact throughout the state.”

Bomhoff and Jenkins helped to set up the art site at the conference where attendees walked through a maze of stations to learn about FTF and how they fit into the work. At the end of the stations, FTF community outreach coordinators collected finished mosaic pieces, answered questions and helped participants explore ways to become involved.

Jenkins, with museum program manager Melanie Martin, also presented a learning session at the Summit called, “Creating Little Makers.”

“We actually had our session’s attendees create a mosaic piece in the session,” Jenkins said. “We wanted them to learn how one small piece can make a big impact when it’s put together with other pieces.”

You can see the art piece at the top of the museum’s grand staircase until Jan. 1.

Renee Targos is the director of brand advancement at First Things First. You can reach her at​

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