Nobody is able to pass by without a second glance. The corner of Hartwood and Overton Park East has evoked many double-takes since the unveiling of an intricate mosaic art piece, created in memory of a beloved community leader, Jerry Wayne Brooks of Fort Worth, Texas.
Brooks died of brain cancer in June 2010 at age 72. After discovering an inoperable tumor, Brooks shared 15 precious months with his wife, Becky Brooks. During that time, the couple explored California wine-country and hosted Van Cliburn piano-competition silver-medalist, Yeol Eum Sum. Jerry requested that his life be celebrated by some kind of public memorial everyone could experience and enjoy, Becky said.
Overton Park was one of his favorite running trails, so the location seemed obvious, Becky said. “He wanted a bench to be placed at a certain angle,” she said, “along with a path extension to it with wheelchair access and (a) drinking fountain.”
Becky initially reached out to local sculptor and metal artist, Rebecca Low, who fabricated the etched stainless steal frame that outlines the art. In need of an outdoor art expert, Low contacted Pamela Summers, a local contemporary ceramist and owner of Cliff House Studio and Gallery. Summers designed and crafted the intricate mosaic.
Adelaide Leavens, executive director of Streams and Valleys, Inc., worked closely with the city’s Parks and Community Services Department to select an appropriate park location and ensure the successful installation of the final work. “It came together beautifully and Leavens is the one that made it all finally happen,” Summers said.
The memorial mosaic incorporates a spectrum of vibrant ceramic tiles with various textures and imprints. The purple tiled lizard skin honors Jerry’s days as a Horned Frog and his generous involvement as a TCU alum. Summers said the circular-patterns were created by using the bottoms of a few of their favorite vintage wine bottles found in their extensive home collection.
Jerry’s running shoe and golf spike imprints, along with his bike-wheel tread marks, driven through the dirt-brown ceramic tile, represent his appreciation for an active, outdoor lifestyle. The raised golf-balls dotted throughout the art piece reflect Jerry’s love for sports.
The piano keyboard winding through the different patches symbolizes the time the coupled hosted a Cliburn silver-medalist. Summers also pointed out the heart symbols as a reflection of Becky’s unconditional love for her husband.
Each detail within the ceramic art represents a specific aspect or memory of Jerry’s active, joyful and fulfilled life.
“I have never designed such an intimate piece of artwork,” Summers said. Bordering the colorful ceramic tiles, the etched stainless steel frame solidify the need for a celebration of such an inspirational life.