Newtown’s Donna Kern Ball has many facets to her life: artist/illustrator, children’s book author, toy inventor, and EMT with the Stony Hill ambulance. Her project buddy, Billy, assists her with art projects two days a week. When they researched various ideas last February and came across mosaic tile art, he immediately said, “I want to do THAT.”
After designing and making 10 trays, which they sold to friends and family, they were ready to move on from functional art, to art for art’s sake. Ball enjoys walking, and that often takes her to Bethel’s Greenwood Avenue, where she frequents Jacqueline’s Restaurant and Bakery. “I saw the eight big windows in front and thought, ‘I wonder if they would like mosaic signage?’" Ariana and Ariel Almonte, the sister/brother team who have owned the popular breakfast and lunch spot since 2014, loved the idea.
From May through September, she and Billy, working from her design of fried eggs, steaming cups of coffee, a hamburger, and other iconic images, created “Diner Art.” The eight-piece series was installed in Jacqueline’s windows on September 29. Made from 8,000 tiles, it is two feet high and 25 feet long overall, and it took them about 200 hours. She calls it “a good Covid-19 isolation project.” So that Jacqueline’s diners who are eating indoors can enjoy the art, she also installed an interior-facing photographic reproduction.
Ball said of the project: “We wanted to create fun and iconic signage for Jacqueline’s windows to honor the great food and service they have provided since 1975. It was an opportunity for a person with disabilities to collaborate with an artist, to learn about concept, design, color, materials, techniques, cost, etc., but mostly we enjoyed many quiet hours of following patterns and assembling the mosaics.”
Caption: Co-owners of Jacqueline’s Restaurant and Bakery, Ariel Almonte (seated) and his sister Ariana (standing, left), with the artist Donna Kern Ball, who created “Diner Art” for the restaurant’s windows.