The Zenspirations® Community Art Project

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I am thrilled that so many people expressed interest in a Zenspirations® community art project, and I’d love to put together a project which we could all work on together. Years ago I organized a number of community art projects for children, which required creating something meaningful and attractive from the efforts of several hundred children of varying skill levels. I’d like to come up with something along the lines of the projects I used to do with the kids. Here are photos of a few past projects that I hope will give you an idea of what I mean.

The first year I chaired the community art effort, each child received a quilted fabric square to decorate. Volunteers assembled the squares into seven large quilts:


The next year each child was given a die-cut paper butterfly and was encouraged to write and illustrate a poem about freedom on their butterfly. The finished butterflies were hung in a local museum for a month.


One year we did a tile wall; 1200+ children and over 100 seniors each painted a tile, which were then combined into a 100 foot long scene of Jerusalem.


That same year we made an installation for the Walter Francis White Elementary School in Atlanta. The Orlando community painted a six panel mural, and the elementary school students each painted a tile which helped frame the mural.


Another year each child received a copper leaf, and learned how to do emboss metal. Metalsmith Pierre Haskelson created four handsome trees, each of which holds more than 200 leaves! The kids who participated are now having kids of their own… on occasion, I’ve seen them stop and point out their tile or leaf to their loved ones.


These community art projects were all done more than a decade ago– before I ever dreamed of Zenspirations; before I even started drawing! Being able to build community through the arts is incredibly special, and I am excited to embark on a collaborative journey with other creative spirits. We have almost 50 countries represented in the Zenspirations Create, Color, Pattern, Play FB group, and my goal is to come up with a project in which everyone, no matter where they live, can participate. One which could strengthen our individual creative skills and build connection to our local communities as well as to one another. Perhaps the project could focus on our group word of the year: HOPE. Or perhaps we can create a project to promote peace, love, justice and/or another shared value. This has the potential grow into a bigger project than I can handle myself, and I’m hoping that in addition to those who want to help create art for the project, that there are some people in the Zenspirations community who have the time, interest and organizational skills to help get it underway.

If you are interested in getting involved, please leave a comment with your answers to the following questions:

  1. What types of projects would interest you?
    1. coloring
    2. painting
    3. journaling
    4. stamping
    5. stencilling
    6. card making
    7. mixed media
    8. drawing
    9. lettering
    10. Dangling
    11. sewing
    12. knitting
    13. woodworking
    14. something else___________
  2. Which of the following media do you think we should incorporate into the project, and which are you personally interested in using?
    1. paper
    2. canvas
    3. wood
    4. wire
    5. beads
    6. clay
    7. fabric
    8. yarn
    9. metal
    10. glass
    11. ____________
  3. How much time are you willing to spend designing your piece of the project?
  4. Are you interested in being a project coordinator for your country/area ? If so, please say where you life, and how much time could you devote to this over the next few months.
  5. Do you know of an organization which may be interested in having our finished collaborative art pieces as a permanent installation?
  6. Do you have any ideas or suggestions to help get the project off the ground?

It’s a lot to think about… and I look forward to learning what you think!

January is trade show season for me, and I’ll be in Atlanta for the Gift Show from Thursday, January 12th until Sunday, January 15th. Then I’ll be attending the Craft & Hobby Association’s Creativation Show in Phoenix from Friday, January 20th until Tuesday, January 24th. I’ll try to remember to post my Creativation show schedule next week, so you’ll know where to find me. I’m eagerly awaiting the first copy of the new Bible Journaling book, and am excited to be doing several book signings in Phoenix. Stop by and say hi if you’ll be at the show.

Speaking of Bible Journaling, I added a few collections to my website gallery, and one of them is for Bible Journaling. Another is called Wordsong

which features some of the different word-of-the-year images I’ve done.


I’m also working on a gallery of short phrases, like the ones I wrote about in last week’s blog post 10 Ways to Stay Zenspired in 2017but haven’t gotten all the images ready to post yet. Here’s a mini poster which I plan to include:


I am especially interested in seeking– and celebrating– sacred heart connections, and have tried to illustrate the concept in the design below.


I always feel blessed when my creative connections blossom into friendships, and since I love to celebrate my friends’ birthdays by making them personalized cards, I also added a Birthday Messages section.


Hope you’ll take a few minutes to look through the galleries. I’ll be adding more images over the next few months, so please let me know if there is anything in particular you’d like to see.

Color & Creativity Enthusiast Kim Flanegin is going to be celebrating her birthday this week. Purple is Kim’s favorite color, so I made her card in lots of shades of purple. Hope you have a great birthday Kim!


Before closing tonight, I wanted to update you on a few things. First, for those of you who are interested in a step buddy, you’ll be hearing from my friend Jill Goldsmith, who has volunteered to pair people up. Second, for those who expressed interest in a lettering/doodling prompt, I’m going to wait and see what ideas are suggested for our community project… I’m hopeful that someone (and it could be YOU!) will come up with an idea which combines them. But if we wind up doing separate prompts from a community art installation project, it would be helpful to know if you would rather have a daily prompt or a weekly prompt. Lastly, I want to apologize for dropping the ball on The Lettering Club lessons. Finishing the Bible Journaling book took ALL of my attention and energy. But now that it is done, I will work on lessons for the capital letters. If you haven’t finished the lower case letters, please do that this month. I’ll be posting the capital lessons in February.

Stay Zenspired,


11 thoughts on “The Zenspirations® Community Art Project”

  1. I love the idea of a community are project and would love to participate. I mostly do paper crafts ,sometimes fabric mixed media. Individual prayer flags on a theme is an idea. The wall of tiles was beautiful maybe with words of the year. I would love to contribute a piece and would be willing to spend many hours working on it this year. Your galleries are beautiful. I just made a bunch of hand made cards. I think your practice of keeping a digital image is a great idea. You can always go back to find a new source of inspiration

  2. Thank you so much Joanne…it means so much to me that you remember my birthday…it is a tough one…I am turning 50 this year.

  3. Great Blog. Your community projects are inspiring. I’ll help coordinate. We’ll have to talk about how!!!

  4. I would love to participate! I use coloring mediums and oils. Whatever time is needed to make beauty in this harsh world, I’ll give.

  5. Thank you for all the time and effort you put into making the Zenspirations community so wonderful and welcoming. I would be interested in coloring, journaling, dangling, and lettering. Media for me is probably going to be paper and canvas.

  6. I love the idea of giving back by spreading “HOPE” to others. I can see this project take a little different twist – instead of one huge group project which might feel overwhelming to anyone, break it down into states and/or metro areas. Each can choose an organization that they can offer the gift of “HOPE” to through art. For me it would have to do with survivors of traumatic brain injuries like myself; there are endless possibilities. I’d love to coordinate an effort in Virginia to be displayed at Brain Injury Services in No.VA for everyone who visits to be reminded there is HOPE.
    Thanks Joanne for always being that ray of HOPE.

  7. I would like to participate. I draw …. And use any type of pencil …. Watercolor, pastels, graphite (my favorite), etc. please contact me.

  8. Thank you Joanne for sharing your artistic gift to us all. I would be interested in a step buddy. I live in Kansas City but are located in Destin Florida til March. I am slightly handicapped I tat my knees are not real strong and survived polio at age 10-am now 73! Thank you again. Carolyn

  9. I would like to help with this project but have no idea where to start or how much I can help. I like paper for a media, & stamping & stenciling.
    I’m in the Lettering Club & was glad to have a break from lettering during the holidays.

  10. I would like to help with this project. I retired last year so I have lots of time available to devote to the project. I’d be willing to help someone who is in a leadership role but since I’ve never worked on a project like this I don’t think I’m qualified to be a local coordinator. I stamp, stencil, color and paint as well as making mosaics. I am also self taught in arm-knitting and willing to try most anything.

Comments are closed.

SIGN UP TODAY For the Zenspirations Blog