Connecting the Dots

The Norris Lions in Tennessee worked with students and teachers to clean up and paint a tunnel that connects the elementary school with the commons area, combining community service and art in celebration of International Dot Day.

In Tennessee, a Norris Lions service project to make the walk to school a little nicer for elementary students turned into a joint project with the children and a celebration of art.

It all began with the Norris Lions’ project to spruce up a tunnel in the town that connects the elementary school to the commons area. Many students use the tunnel to walk home after school, but the interior paint was peeling, and it needed cleaning.

Lions offered to clean and paint the tunnel as a service to the city. Lions Robert Ulino and Mike Robinson organized club members to power wash the inside. That led to the suggestion that a mural be painted inside the tunnel with an artist rendition approved by the city.

With the help of artist Lion Murrie Grazer, the ceiling of the tunnel soon became a blue sky with puffy white clouds. His plan for the rest of the mural showed the mountains of East Tennessee where they live.

Elementary art teacher Alison Greenhouse suggested they involve the students as a way to celebrate International Dot Day.

International Dot Day was inspired by a children’s story, “The Dot,” by Peter H. Reynolds. It tells of a young girl who was sure that she had no artistic ability until her teacher convinced her to make her mark by just dipping a finger in paint and making a dot on a piece of paper. When the girl came to school the next day she found that her picture was framed and hanging in the classroom. After that she had the confidence to create more art.

Greenhouse suggested the children could make their own colorful dots to be incorporated into the finished painting. The details of the mural could be done by the local middle and high school students under the direction of their art teachers.

So, on Friday, September 13th, a large group of volunteers came to direct the children in the project. Norris Lions set up containers of paint in various colors, as well as buckets of water for hand washing. Two hundred and forty students lined up to take turns making their dots and then signed an album to be displayed at their school. The album includes not only photos of the event, but also the name and dot of each student who participated.