The North Van City Mosaic is in the North Shore News!

Andy Prest Feb 15, 2021 4:59 PM

Access the original article on the North Shore News website here:

NV City Mosaic PM web
Artists Sophie Babeanu (left) and Sandrine Pelissier are co-ordinating a public art project taking images submitted by City of North Vancouver residents that will be inserted into a tiled public art piece within a photo of the waterfront.▲
CNV Mosaic - web
The North Van City Mosaic project invites residents to submit images that will be used as the building blocks for this photo of the waterfront.▲
A tile submitted for the mosaic project shows a slice of life for a family navigating the long-term care system during the COVID era.
Expressive art therapist Sophie Babeanu and visual artist Sandrine Pelissier make up the team behind the North Van City Mosaic project.

Each individual tile tells its own tale, but put them all together and you’ve got a picture that tells a full story.

That is the underlying concept of North Van City Mosaic, an ongoing North Van Arts project that gives anyone who lives, works or plays in the City of North Vancouver the chance to submit an image related to their life during COVID-19 for inclusion in a vast digital mosaic. The individual tiles submitted by the public are inserted into a large photo of the North Vancouver waterfront, the many little pieces contributing to a unified whole.

“You can see a mosaic almost as a metaphor for a community where you have people living next to each other, like the little tiles, but everything makes a whole picture, a whole community,” said Sandrine Pelissier, a North Vancouver visual artist who has teamed with expressive art therapist Sophie Babeanu to co-ordinate the project, which is run under the umbrella of the City of North Vancouver’s Mayor’s Healthiest Small City Social Resiliency Collective.

The art-loving duo behind the project want to make it very clear, however, that you don’t need to be a talented artist to make a submission. Any artwork, any photo can be used to create your piece of the mosaic puzzle.

“Everybody is an artist,” said Pelissier. “You don’t need to be super skilled to be allowed to express yourself. … We are trying to get people not to be intimidated by the idea of participating.”

So far they have received more than 200 submissions, but there are thousands more spaces in the mosaic that they’d like to see filled. Making a submission is as easy as going onto the project’s website, filling in a short form and then uploading the image. Participants can include their name with their submission if they like, or make it anonymously.  

“You could go participate now,” said Pelissier with a laugh.

“It’s easy, it doesn’t take a lot of time,” added Babeanu. “If people don’t want to spend a day drawing something than can use a picture they already have. They can do a stick figure. We don’t care. Every submission is welcome. It’s easy and it’s fast.”

The mosaic updates in real time, so after you make a submission you get the instant gratification of seeing your piece pop up on the screen.

There are lots of ways for the public to observe the submissions as well, scrolling through them like a book, or using a search function to pinpoint keywords, themes or the names of the artists.

The project’s co-ordinators say it’s a powerful experience for them to see the images people are submitting to document their pandemic struggles and triumphs.

“For us it’s quite beautiful to see how people are living during these weird times,” said Babeanu. “And we relate a lot to what they are saying, we can really relate to our fellow North Vancouverites. It’s humbling as well. … It’s rewarding.”

Many of the submissions share similar themes as people struggle to cope with pandemic problems or share little pieces of their new quarantine quirks.  

“For me what stands out is the common experience and the individuality at the same time,” said Pelissier. “You feel that we all share the same struggles – it gives a sense of community in a way.”

The project is live now and will likely run as long as COVID-19 is a concern – at least until this fall. When the online Mosaic is complete the project will move on to a second phase with an artist commissioned to create a piece of tile art featuring submissions from the public. That piece will be permanently displayed at a yet-to-be-determined location in the City of North Vancouver.

The artists are hoping the online mosaic and accompanying public art piece will provide a snapshot of these strange times that will endure for years to come.

“It’ll stay as a testimony of what it was like to be here in 2020 and 2021,” said Babeanu, adding that people are still studying the original mosaics that were created in ancient Rome thousands of years ago. “The old mosaics were documenting their lifestyle and what was happening during that time. And our mosaic is documenting how we are living right now, today, in our environment and our circumstances.”

The simple act of creating something can be a powerful force at times like these, said Babeanu.

“Art is helping people really cope with and make sense of what they are living, and in that sense it gives them more resilience,” she said. “When people are looking at the art they are touched by it, and when they are making it they are saying, ‘look, this is how I feel, this is how I see my world.’”

2 Zoom presentations for Culture Days 2020

The North Van City Mosaic is a community public art project developed by the members of the Mayor’s Healthiest Small City Social Resiliency Collective.

Local visual artist Sandrine Pelissier and expressive art therapist Sophie Babeanu invite everyone who lives, works, or plays in the City of North Vancouver to contribute to building an online digital mosaic; submit an image of a drawing, painting, or photograph, along with an optional description, to represent your experience living in the time of COVID-19!

It is a way for the community of North Vancouver city to come together, share and reflect on their experience of living in a time of pandemic. It is also a way to document and remember these extraordinary times.

Because the project is online based, it allows a wide audience to participate in a safe way.

We will hold 3 live stream events on Zoom to present the project, explain how to participate and give ideas to participants about what pictures or text they could share.

SAT 03 OCT 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Join our team for a presentation of the North Van City Mosaic Project. We will show you some examples of entries and explain how to participate.

There will be a live demo of simple drawing techniques to warm you up and give you ideas, like drawing with your non dominant hand, blind contour drawing, scribbling.

We will also show you a simple monoprint technique that you can use to draw a self portrait. It is a very easy and fun technique that everyone can do, including children.

You can just watch or participate live. If you chose to participate, you will need:

  • Paper (printer paper is ok)
  • Pencil, markers or fine liners, or any art supply you have
  • A small mirror
  • A spray bottle with water
  • Washable felt tips pen in a few colors.
  • A subject to draw, like a coffee cup or a vase, a plant…..

Armed with all those ideas, we will then give you some time to think about what you want to share on the mosaic. The following zoom session on Oct 4th will give you all the information if you need help with uploading your form.

SUN 04 OCT 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: We will show you on the computer screen how to fill out the form, the notification email, how to find your picture on the mosaic, and how to share it on social media. We would then take any questions you might have.


SAT 03 OCT 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

SUN 04 OCT 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

City Press Release of Collective Initiatives

News Release Office of the Mayor

August 24, 2020

Mayor Linda Buchanan celebrates new projects aimed at building community resiliency and strengthening connection

NORTH VANCOUVER – Mayor Linda Buchan convened the “Mayor’s Healthiest Small City Social Resiliency Collective” in June to respond to gaps in the community’s social infrastructure that has been illuminated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Collective has developed 5 “quick-start” actions that will strengthen community resiliency, particularly among different vulnerable populations. 

“All people in our community need to feel welcomed and included,” said Mayor Linda Buchanan. “The quick-starts developed by the Collective will be geared towards serving vulnerable and socially isolated people. These initiatives will facilitate new community connections as well as create a space for people to have their voices and stories heard.”

The “quick-starts” that are underway in the community are: 

  1. COVID-19 Community Connection Mosaic: individual story-telling through images, organized into a community public art mosaic that explores residents’ experiences.
  2. CityAlive: ‘pop-up’ performances to animate outdoor public spaces.
  3. NorthVanStories: captures and shares digital stories to foster deeper, more meaningful connections between individuals and communities across the City. 
  4. Hello Neighbour: a postcard campaign that encourages City of North Vancouver residents to connect with one another and ‘say hello.’
  5. Expanding Technology Access: strengthens connection and reduces isolation by improving access for those with limited access to internet hardware and Wi-Fi.

“Through COVID-19 we have seen unprecedented levels of hope, spirit, civic engagement, and generosity. We have also seen the veil lifted on the many challenges cities face, including poverty, homelessness, food insecurity and social isolation. How we respond as a community is important,” added Mayor Buchanan.

Establishing the Mayor’s Healthiest Small City Social Resiliency Collective was aided by a total of $22,500 in grant funding awarded by the West Vancouver Foundation and North Vancouver Foundation for project facilitation and management.

The Collective is a shared leadership model that allows members to act together to achieve common goals for a healthy city. Members of the Collective represent leaders from non-profit service providers, faith communities, public health, community members, and the arts and culture sector.


Media Contact: Tamara Connor  Office of the Mayor City of North Vancouver  778-836-4330