Piece It Together A Hands-On Art Project Helps Families Create Meaningful Expressions

Imagine an art collaboration that defies ageism. With pieces from New York to the Czech Republic, peppered with brushstrokes and collages, the installation stands at a whopping 9-by-1,250 feet.

‘Tis the brainchild of artist Tim Kelly, who coordinates and maintains the Puzzle Installation & Collaborative Project. The task is simple. With a ten dollar donation, participants receive art supplies and a 24-by-24 inch blank canvas to decorate and emote as they please. The result? Inspirational. The rules? Zero! “All we ask is that you make your puzzle piece meaningful to you,” instructs Kelly.

How It All Started
Along with artists Sandy Taylor and Marie Maber, Kelly’s passion project was born at the Monmouth County Arts Festival in 2009. Taking inspiration from the Deepak Chopra quote—“There are no extra pieces in the universe. Everyone is here because he or she has a place to fill, and every piece must fit itself into the big jigsaw puzzle (of life),”—the creative team settled on a jigsaw creation.

“We continue to grow every day,” expresses Kelly who has since worked with schools, art groups, individual artists, and organizations across the country (and the world). This juggernaut of a jigsaw now houses 4,000 pieces. With hopes to reach 5,000, Kelly is scouting venues for a NYC installation that will be able to accommodate that volume of art. “It will be a historic exhibition that will help prove that art is an essential form of expression that cannot be denied,” states Kelly.

In a culture where economic woes are taking their toll on schools and art programs have taken the hit, the Puzzle Project comes to the rescue at a much-needed moment. Kelly sums it up perfectly: “Kids should never be deprived of their creative outlet.  It’s too important at this stage of their lives to be creative thinkers.”

How To Get Involved
What better season than the summer to exercise that imaginative muscle? From a little girl creating a piece with the self-loving theme of “be yourself” to a teenager focusing on “I’m different, get use to it,” the Puzzle Project boasts a simple message that can be fun for the whole family.
At the “Art is Good” workshops, come sit on a comfy blanket and surround yourself with hundreds of puzzle pieces while you create your own masterpiece.

•  A do-it-yourself puzzle workshop at Art Connects New York (491 Broadway, 5th floor) on Tuesday, July 19 from 6-9pm.
• Groups or schools interested in setting up a workshop or purchasing puzzle pieces should check Kelly’s website to get in contact with him.
• 700 pieces are on display until July 27 at Art Connects New York. You can also purchase a puzzle piece there.
• Over 2,000 pieces are also on display at the Middletown Township Arts Center in New Jersey. Those interested can purchase pieces.
• To see some of the powerful puzzle pieces, click here.

Posted By: Melanie Dostis, July 12, 2011