Mattie’s Favorite Color Mosaic
New Main Street Artwork

A beautiful work of art was recently installed in the main hallway outside Mattie’s Peace Room, the yoga and mindfulness studio, at Main Street. The inspiring mosaic boasts the words of the room’s namesake, young poet and peace advocate Matti J.T. Stepanek, “Sunset is still my favorite color, and rainbow is second”. We share the story and symbolism behind this mosaic created by community members alongside our friends at VisArts.

Mattie was a fun-loving, local young man who lived with a rare muscular dystrophy disorder – the same disease that took the lives of his three older siblings. In his short but amazing 13 years, Mattie became a poet, peacemaker and philosopher. He published seven best-selling books of poetry and peace essays and was a much loved motivational speaker. Mattie believed that we each are unique, have our own gifts and personal stories. Individual, unique pieces come together in a mosaic to create a beautiful, harmonious creation. Mattie truly saw the world as a perfect mosaic where our differences and uniqueness contribute to the beauty of the masterpiece of humanity.

As Alice Nappy and Karen Askin of VisArts were planning their first Rockville Arts Festival, they knew they wanted a project in which the community could participate. They had recently met with Jeni Stepanek, Mattie’s mom, to discuss ways that VisArts could support the ongoing work of the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation. Separately, they had also recently met with Jillian Copeland to learn about Main Street. In her meeting, Jillian mentioned that her son Nicol had once shared a hospital room with Mattie. She told how brave, kind, empathetic and amazing Mattie had been with Nicol and the whole Copeland family. This story and the two intersecting meetings inspired the community participation mosaic project! Karen researched Mattie’s writings in a desire to capture his voice and message of peace, love and hope in the art piece. She certainly succeeded with the quote, the colors and the hearts from his illustrations! The center sunset panel was created by two VisArts staff members and the rest was done by community participation during the 2019 Rockville Arts Festival.

Mattie’s Peace Room celebrates Mattie, his kindness and his visionary message. Jeni, his mom, is an active, very important part of Main Street and offers monthly “Mama Peace” chats for our members. We are grateful to be able to display this meaningful piece of art which acts as a visual translation of Mattie’s spirit.