Penguins owner Mario Lemieux celebrated his birthday on Tuesday by helping unveil a gift that will keep on giving to others – the Mario Mosaic.
Lemieux and his wife, Natalie, were on hand at CONSOL Energy Center to pull down the curtain and officially launch the Mario Mosaic.
Standing 20’x8’, the Mario Mosaic contains over 21,000 fan and construction worker photos embedded into a canvas featuring six photographs of Lemieux ranging from his early days as a player to his lifting the Stanley Cup as an owner in 2009.
The Mario Mosaic resides on the glass atrium located just inside the Trib Total Media Gate at CONSOL Energy Center directly across from the team’s official store, PensGear, and the Dick’s Sporting Goods Box Office.
During non-events the mosaic will sit on the floor so that fans can walk up and see their pictures, while it will be raised to the top of the glass during events so that it can be viewed by patrons on the main concourse.
“We were looking to do something that would involve the whole community, the Penguins and their fans,” said Tom Grealish, chairman of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. “This idea kind of meshed with the new building. This building is so technologically advanced so we wanted to do something that would reflect that and would be fun for the fans. What we found is, once we put this idea out there, it kind of snowballed. We had so many people sending in photos.”
“This is a fitting tribute to Mario because it is more about the fans than Mario himself, which is what his legacy is,” Penguins CEO and President David Morehouse said. “Everyone whose image makes up the mosaic donated $66 dollars. That money goes to cancer research and Austin’s Playroom. In a very important way, the mosaic ties together the Penguins, the Mario Lemieux Foundation and fans and supporters from around Pittsburgh and the world. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY: Mario Mosaic Revealed
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“I can’t think of a more fitting way to pay tribute to what Mario has been able to do for Pittsburgh and what the Lemieux Foundation has been able to do for Pittsburgh, cancer research and neonatal research. For how much Mario has given back to the community, it’s nice to see the community giving back to Mario.”
As a way to allow fans who donated photos to easily find their pictures on the mosaic, two kiosks have been set up to give the exact location. The main kiosk is right next to the mosaic, while the second one sits on the main concourse directly above the mosaic just outside of the First Niagara Club.
“We want people to have a vehicle to be able to find their photo so that they can find it on the actual mosaic and see it up close,” said Drew Parish, marketing manager of the Mario Lemieux Foundation.
To help support the thousands of fans who donated $66 dollars to have their photos on the mosaic, the photos of 1,900 contractors and construction workers who helped make CONSOL Energy Center a reality were added to the outer edge of the mosaic to act as a border.
“We thought that was a perfect fit because they were the heart and soul that built the arena so we wanted to make them the heart and soul of this piece by making them the border,” Parish said. “I think doing that worked out really well.”
In addition to checking out the mosaic in person by visiting CONSOL Energy Center Monday-Friday during normal business hours, fans can also log onto the freshly launched website, www.mariomosaic.com
, to view the mural.