Cy DeCosse and Osmo Vänskä

The “All Together Now!” mosaic was unveiled at the February 20th Minnesota Orchestra concert. Here’s an interview with mosaic creator, Cy DeCosse:

How did the idea for the mosaic come about?

“Paula was looking for something to symbolize All Together Now! — the theme of the community celebration at the orchestra’s opening concerts in September. We came up with the idea of a mosaic. I researched computer programs and found one that worked.”

How did you choose the image for the mosaic?

“We got a number of photos from the orchestra staff and chose this one because it had to have large, easily identified elements. That’s why we couldn’t include the whole orchestra in the large image.”

How many photos are in the mosaic?

“In order to create the mosaic effect with thumbnail-sized pictures, it took over 35,000 photos to fill the 12 foot square. We had a little over 1,600 to start with — about 300 photos of the staff, board and musicians and around 1,300 photos of audience members shot at the opening concerts. The computer multiplied those 1,600 photos and used what it needed for contrast and color. Each person appears an average of 21 times. So you won’t find yourself in the mosaic just once.”

Was it easy to do the computer work?

“I had to size all the photos — make them square. And I did a lot of color correction. Because of the enormous size of the mosaic, the computer kept crashing. In order to get the mosaic that big, I had to work on the image in quadrants and put the four pieces together in Photoshop. It took quite a bit of work to get the image ready for printing on that huge banner, making sure that each small photo was sharp.”

Will my photo be in the mosaic on the poster?

Yes, but perhaps in a different place than on the large banner. I had to run the program four different times to produce the 12-foot mosaic (see previous question). The mosaic on the poster was much smaller, so I ran that program only once. Consequently the mosaic poster contains all the photos, but in a different arrangement than on the large banner.


The “All Together Now” mosaic was the brainchild and artistic/technological creation of artist/photographer Cy DeCosse. Cy is married to Orchestrate Excellence Co-chair, Paula DeCosse. He is also a dedicated flutist who studies with Minnesota Orchestra Principal Flute, Adam Kuenzel. After an early career in advertising, where he was the only Minneapolis “Mad Man” to win a Cleo, Cy started a publishing firm and a creative business that furnished ideas to major U.S. corporations. Since selling the business, he has returned to his first love – fine art photography.

Creating the Mosaic