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Watch: Conservation Team Revives Dallas Mosaic 11

Driving down Main Street in Downtown Dallas, it’s hard to miss the tiled facade of St. Jude Chapel. A yellow and orange sunburst with hints of cool blue, the mosaic piece is undoubtedly vibrant but time has been unkind to it.

“It was evident from the ground that there were two fractures going on,” says mosaic artist Julie Richey, who was commissioned to restore the Genesis Mosaic alongside Cher Goodson of Art Restoration Inc.

The arduous process of reviving the work was recorded in a short documentary by Mark Birnbaum Productions ahead of the chapel’s 50th anniversary.

Designed by MIT professor Gyorgy Kepes in 1968, the mosaic was suffering from two major fractures, smaller cracks throughout, and a plague of mildew underneath the surface, Richey said. She and Goodson began repair for the work in April, and the process took about six weeks.

The biggest challenge?

“Removing the tile and getting it back on it the exact same position,” says Goodson.

“I think we were all holding our breath through that section.  It was challenging, but it was really rewarding. When I saw the finished mosaic, even I was thrilled with the end result. God knows I’d been watching it every other day. It just sparkles — like a jewel across from the Joule.”