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A Celebration Of Life Comes To Reed And Newtown Middle School



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A Celebration Of Life Comes To Reed And Newtown Middle School

By Eliza Hallabeck

Newtown Middle School and Reed Intermediate School students saw presentations of The Signature Project, presented by artist Patrick Dunning, recently. In one presentation after another Newtown students learned of Mr Dunning’s attempt to combine 1,008,016 signatures into a multidimensional piece of art.

This was the second time the project has been brought to both NMS and Reed.

“It was such an enormous success that our PTA decided to bring it back,” said PTA member Robyn Fitzgerald. Ms Fitzgerald also said the presentation of the project has to be spaced out accordingly so the students do not see it at Reed Intermediate School and then see it the next year at the middle school.

During the presentation, Mr Dunning talked students through the creation of the project, and some of the parts in the large construction, which is expected to be completed in 2012.

“Are you in the mood for a show?” asked Mr Dunning to the cafetorium full of Reed Intermediate students on Thursday, October 29.

The Signature Project is multifaceted, according to Mr Dunning’s website, www.signatureproject.com. Its core is a huge, 76-foot by 36-foot mural layered with hidden secrets. A unique, exhilarating tapestry blending art and technology, the live performance of The Signature Project also offers the opportunity for the audience to join those whose signatures already comprise the fabric of the art work, according to the website.

“I’ve been working on this for the last 17 years,” said Mr Dunning at the start of the presentation on Thursday, “and I am not finished.”

On each individual square, which make The Signature Project’s larger image, Mr Dunning has layered different images and surprises, as he explained to students at Reed and NMS.

One square of the project has the signatures of 7,000 people written in different colors to come together and form an image when placed with the other 171 squares, but beyond the signatures is a hidden painting in special paint. When a black light hovers over the square, paintings of snowflakes, leaves and more are brought out. When the squares are eventually placed together, this hidden image, invisible to the human eye without a black light, will create the image of a man standing with his arms open.

“It is a simple celebration of a thing called life,” said Mr Dunning.

While the estimated completion of the project is scheduled for 2012, Mr Dunning explained to students the end product of the large creation, will be put together and scanned on a DVD. People will then be able to interact and explore each square. Some of the signatures will include videos of the people who signed the project, including Mr Dunning’s mother.

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