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Art of Work


There’s a mural in Winsted, Connecticut, that’s five stories high and 120 feet long. That’s longer than a blue whale! Artist Ellen Griesedieck created the mural. She had help from thousands of students all over the country. It took more than 20 years to complete the massive artwork. Now it’s on display for the public.

Griesedieck’s mural was unveiled in June 2022. It’s displayed in a former factory in Winsted, Connecticut.


Griesedieck calls her work the American Mural Project. It celebrates American workers. Steelworkers and heart surgeons are pictured. So are farmers and a teacher. “There’s somebody real behind every piece of this,” she told TIME for Kids

Artist Ellen Griesedieck


Griesedieck met workers in small towns and cities all over the United States. She took photos of them on the job. Then she painted them. There’s Melissa. She’s a firefighter in New York City. And Edwin. He’s a New York City police officer. “The portrait portrait a picture that focuses on a person's face (noun) The teacher posed for a school portrait. of him is 18 feet high,” Griesedieck says. “But his story is way bigger than that.” Griesedieck likes to get to know the people she paints. This makes her portraits feel more personal.

The mural shows workers from all over the U.S. One is firefighter Melissa Bennett, from New York City.

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Artist Ellen Griesedieck sketches an image of Edwin Raymond, a police officer.


A Team Effort

Student artwork is also part of the mural. Kids in Pennsylvania made self-portraits. In New Mexico, kids made ceramic tiles. The tiles were pieced together. They form the red and white plaid shirt of a mechanic named Stitch.

Kids made ceramic tiles for the mural. The tiles form a worker’s shirt.


The mural is displayed inside a former factory. Parts are still being added. The project is all about collaboration collaboration working together (noun) Lucy performed in collaboration with other musicians. . It’s about “making something bigger than you could do on your own,” Griesedieck says.

Piecing it Together


It takes teamwork to install a giant piece of art. These workers are using a mechanical lift. They’re adding a portrait of Melissa Bennett to the mural. It’s just one part out of many. “We’ve got 116 pieces of marble that look like a jigsaw puzzle of the Statue of Liberty,” Griesedieck says. Adding those heavy pieces took more than a month.