I already told you about a great project called PaperJam at Figment NYC, which is happening this weekend on Governors Island. I want to introduce to you another amazing project called The Puzzle Project by an amazing Greenpointer named Tim Kelly.
The Puzzle Installation & Collaborative Project is a huge traveling group art exhibition that continues to grow. It originated at the Monmouth County Arts Council, but the project gained such popularity and momentum among art and community organizations, like our own Greenpoint YMCA, and schools throughout the US and abroad that it’s become Tim’s full-time gig, which is completely self-funded. When you see the scale of this project you will wonder what fuels him.
When you meet Tim you will quickly understand it is his genuine love for art and his passion for sharing that love that gives him the energy to manage this huge endeavor.
After greeting me on his stoop with his two adorable kitties, Tim invited me inside and took me up to his attic where he showed me some of the 1000s of puzzle pieces he has amassed, all made by individuals from all corners of the country. Each unique piece he took out got him very excited. “Look at this one!” he would say as he pulled out one after another, “Oh this one is awesome!”
Tim gets great joy from encouraging people to make artwork. He even gets more excited when he talks about the entire project installed with over 5000 puzzles pieces connected along a giant wall, which is what he hopes for in a NYC exhibition this fall. Standing on top of one another, all those puzzle pieces are as tall as the Empire State Building.
He got choked up when he read a letter from the Navy Wives Club, who organized a puzzle workshop for patients at the Balboa Naval hospital who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress after returning from combat. Their faces and demeanors immediately brightened up when they began making artwork.
“When your kids everyone is an artist,” Tim said, “By the time they are soldiers they just don’t think they should be doing art. Then they do it, then they love it.”
The puzzle is a metaphor for the creative connection we share. “You can’t do it wrong,” Tim explains and, “the kids just go for it.” And when someone complains they aren’t an artists, Tim says it’s a collaboration in expression with “no rules, just make it meaningful.”
Tim even gave me a puzzle piece to complete. I don’t describe myself as an artist, but I have been working very hard. My art form is the To Do List. Holding the puzzle piece feels like holding an artists palate, and the beauty of this To Do list is it’s gigantic, so I can’t lose it. I’ve realized that Greenpointers is a place for continued creative expression and my art is that of discovery. My recent Walk of Inspiration is one take on this.
Tim Kelly’s tireless dedication to making art inviting and accessible to everyone is truly a great gift and we should be proud to have such a talented and giving Greenpointer in our community.
If you are on Governors Island this weekend for Figment NYC, make sure to stop by and make a puzzle piece. The Puzzle Project will also be part of the upcoming Williamsburg Walks on the weekend of June 16-17th.
If you are interested in Tim’s artwork, check out his studio called Creative Seven. Tim also gives art workshops via his program called Art is Good.