Historic, but not famous

Jim Power, mosaic artist in East Village

Jim Power is a Vietnam Veteran decorating the East Village with mosaics. In the 1980s, Mr. Powers set out to make East Village a known arts destination by creating a trail of 80 mosaic-decorated light posts, each with its own theme and design inspired by local history and culture. At the height of his career as a street artist, The Mosaic Man was up to 70 light posts, but in the later part of the 80s and into the 90s, mayor Rudy Giulianni started a clean-up-the-city anti-graffiti campaign and took down 50 of his beautifully-adorned artworks. It was pretty hard to bear, but Jim never gave up on his dream of completing the trail, and managed to rebuild every one of them.

Back in 2007, he was so frustrated he couldn’t get money to rebuild his decaying light posts that he took down his own works. He was bitter the city of New York had spent millions of works of foreign artists, while ignoring his homegrown works, but admits part of the reason he’s had problems getting funding is his inability to complete a formal application.

The now infamous Mosaic Trail of East Village spans from the Lower East Side running from Broadway down Eighth Street to Avenue A, to Fourth Street and then back to Eighth Street. His works are a tribute to local icons and events that took place in the areas where the light posts are located. The Mosaic Man has also made it his mission to show the history of September 11 by creating message to honor those who have fallen during the tragic event.

The typical mosaic light post decorated by Jim Power is covered with a myriad of ceramic fragments and glass pieces. Every one of his works comprises of over 1,000 small tiles while the eight-foot pole at Eighth Street and Broadway has more than 2,800. Jim’s vision has changed the face of New York City.

You can follow the Mosaic Trail or ask us to guide you through.


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