Connecting Kids, Books, and Art: The Story Behind “Connecting the Dots," a community art project.
You never know how one small step will connect with future steps until you can look back and see it all laid out in a beautiful masterpiece.
This is precisely how my project with the Loveland Library started….one small artistic step way back in March of 2020.
Out of an impulse to create while being stuck at home during the pandemic, I started creating simple “dot to dot” drawings with my boys. It helped keep us sane during the long days of being shut in and the creativity helped all of us deal with the stress of COVID. I would sit down with the boys each morning and ask one of them how many dots to put on the blank page.
It could be 3, 10, 25…. I would place the marks randomly and then number them randomly and then connect them sequentially. What would appear would be an abstract mess of lines that I would organize with 3-5 colors. The methodical practice anchored me when everything else was complete chaos. It gave me a sense of release and control all at the same time. It was completely intuitive with no other reason for creation other than just to do it. And that was enough.
I created a drawing each day in March and it was such a great experience and quite different for me, too. I put the drawings in a file folder and moved on to new work and projects when April came along.
Little did I know that those drawings would come back and connect with another step in my journey.
I found myself utilizing the line and shape work I did for my COVID drawings when I started working on the mural elements for the Rialto Project. I fell in love with the movement of the lines and how freeing it was to just allow the lines to go where they wanted. This was a departure from the movement and restriction of the small drawings I did earlier.
Then, Beth Gumstead from the Loveland Library got in touch with me about doing a children’s activity for their summer reading program called “Learning Colors Your World.” After thinking about it for a while, I realized that my dot to dot drawings would be a perfect activity for the kiddos. Simple, fun, and doable for all ages.
As we continued planning and talking, Beth proposed the idea of having me create a piece of work for the library that would be permanently installed. That is when we started putting all the steps (or dots) together for the creation of this community, collaborative project. This project was born out of a desire to collaborate with our community after a year and half of isolation.
So, here’s what we decided to do: In conjunction with the library’s summer reading program, I would facilitate the creation of a 48 x 48 square mixed media creation that would be designed by myself and the children in our community. Participating children would select a book page to be used as part of the background of the painting. Additional children would come during an event in July where they can place their “mark” (a dot) on the collaged panel. Each dot will be numbered and then connected sequentially by me, the artist. The connected dots will create a design that will be organized via color and shape. There is no telling what the final piece will actually look like because I’m at the mercy of wherever the participants add their “marks.” While the end result is unpredictable, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will be a masterpiece because of the story that it shares. (The image above is a sample I created to test out the process.)
This whole process was about a year in the making and I couldn’t have told you even 3 months ago that I could see the “masterpiece” unfolding. Each step was singular and done with the guidance of the Spirit and my heart. Each step placement related to what I saw in the moment with no forethought to how it would connect with other future steps. The participants of this project will be walking in a similar journey of trust and intuition. While I am far from the Master Artist that has connected the dots to create the masterpiece of the “now” in my own journey (and He does the same with yours, trust me), I hope that the piece reminds all involved that they have an important part to play and while they can’t be certain of the outcome, they can trust the Artist who is pulling it all together.
If you would like to help make this project come together, please sign up for my mailing list to be sent information about how to get involved. (You'll get a free gift for signing up:)