Note: Video available for this story
A student at Rochester Institute of Technology is making a film about a piece of art created by almost 3,000 people, and in the process, he’s connecting a community. Ryan Meadows, a second-year film production major, calls the project “Lines.”
Meadows and his student crew are traveling to various locations in Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y., with 100 canvases to collect 30 lines on each canvas. Each line is painted by a volunteer, and the project is open to the public. Participants can choose any color of paint and can draw their line however they choose. The only rule is, once the brush is lifted from the canvas, the line is finished.
“Lines” will be at Blue Cross Arena at 6 p.m. April 12 during the Rochester Americans hockey game. It is free to participate, and every line painter gets a free “Lines” sticker.
Meadows, from Cicero, N.Y., created the project as an experimental film for his production workshop class. He is producing a 3-5 minute film, which will show how every line was drawn, and will also include photographs of all of the nearly 3,000 people involved.
The concept for “Lines” came to Meadows, who specializes in sound production, after toying with the idea of leaving an unattended easel in a public space and filming the results.
“I wanted to stray away from focusing on sound and do something that wasn’t the norm,” he says. “I started thinking about putting an easel in a park with paint next to it, but I realized I’d probably end up without an easel, so I started thinking of ways to have a lot of people each make one small contribution to a piece of art.”
The film will be shown at the RIT School of Film and Animation’s end-of-quarter screenings in May. Meadows also plans to enter his film into several film festivals, and he is looking for galleries and charities to donate some of the painted canvases to.
“The project shows a lot about how people interact with one another,” says Meadows. “I feel like I get to know all of these people just through their lines. I can look at someone and guess what kind of line they’re going to create.”
So far, Meadows has gotten roughly 1,600 total participants from the locations that he has visited, which include The Little Theater, The Marketplace mall, Eastview Mall and Syracuse University.
“Each line reflects the personality of the person who drew it, so you have all those people’s personalities together, contributing to a single work of art,” he says. “It connects everyone involved.”