Thursday evening (9/14): After we saw Dante paint his spot on the canvas, we saw a series of people walk by with varying looks on their faces. The area off the sidewalk that the canvas sat in was a bit hidden from south-bound foot traffic, so the canvas was a surprising site to many. The 6’ x 12’ size and mostly white appearance made it something people needed to study for a few moments before they had a reaction. There was no visible signage at that point to inform what the project was specifically about. Seeing the numbered spaces didn’t immediately resonate with people. One of us was usually quick to offer some encouragement in the form of “want to paint a square?” or more plainly “it’s a paint-by-number”.  This was effective to connect the dots for most people. I would often describe the process for them too. “You pick a color and we give you a paint cup and brush”. This was usually enough to get a buy-in. They’d approach the table where my wife or a volunteer would welcome them with a card of swatches. Seeing the cups of paint on the table was often an effective reinforcement for what we were asking of them. Skeptical types would take a bit more time. Some would indicate a bit of resistance while often accepting the terms. Many would immediately express some sort of glee at the opportunity, or exclaim how wonderful the opportunity provided.

As each person approached the canvas, picked their spot and carefully filled the space (sometimes spaces) with paint, they frequently turned around with a big smile on their face. We would give them an I Painted the Calder sticker (which I joked was more popular than the painting). I would then try to be there to capture that smile for our Artist Mosaic. All of us working got a lift from the enthusiasm people showed. Comments such as “that was so fun” or “what an awesome ideagave us the clue we were offering a unique experience. That first evening, we had a fairly steady stream of people but didn’t quite use all hundred cups of paint we’d packed. At the same time, we were pleased that those who painted had enjoyed themselves and that the weekend would be busier.