CAMDEN—If you’re seeing spots this week, it’s no coincidence. International Dot Day kicked off September 15 and spans the entire week. Now in its 10th anniversary, Dot Day marks “a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, that began when Iowa teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009,” according to the website.
What’s so special about a dot? It’s a symbol and a metaphor for Reynolds’ story “of a girl who begins a journey of self-discovery after a caring teacher challenges her to ‘make her mark.’”
Shay founded International Dot Day in 2009 and more than 16 million people in 182 countries have found inspiration in this grassroots movement to focus on their creative potential and personal goals in order to “make a mark” on the world.
Educators at Camden Middle School are planning #Dot Day on Thursday, September 19.
“Every year at the beginning of the school year CRMS joins people from all over the world to celebrate Dot Day,” said Middle School teacher Kristen Anderson. “Our students and staff create a goal that they will try to achieve over the course of the school year. Last year the students focused their goal around kindness. This year the focus is on grit. Students will pick something they are passionate about, create a plan, and stick with it through frustrations and failure.”
Camden Public Library also got into the spirit of #Dot Day calling for an exhibit for local artists and creators early this month. Inspired by artist Yayoi Kusama, a contemporary artist known for her sculpture and installations, the library hosted a mini exhibition of dot-covered items in the Rotunda on September 16.
Kusama’s work ranged from child-like innocence to the provocative. Her 2011installation, “Obliteration Room,” invited members of the public to decorate a giant white room, and everything in it, with colorful dot stickers. In the counter culture movement of the 1960s, she organized a public human installation/performance art featuring naked party goers she painted in polka dots. This, and her inventive art earned her the moniker “The Priestess of Polka Dots.” It becomes obvious what she struggled with just to be true to her nature, that Kusana was brave enough to make her own mark in an era where it wasn’t considered “respectable” for a woman to be a contemporary artist.
Rockland Public Library also hosted its own version of “Dot Day” the second week of September with Children’s Librarian Katie Drago. One session involved “Dot Day” story time for pre-schoolers and another, a craft session for all ages.
“We used Q-tips to paint dots on rocks in sort of a mandala patterns to make them nice and dotty,” said Drago. “We talked about the meaning of Dot Day — how it’s all about being creative no matter how you feel and to remove self doubt. It’s the backbone of my Creative Art Crew session I host once a month at the library. It’s about letting yourself be creative. You don’t have to ‘feel like an artist’ to participate.”
Those who want to share what is inspiring them this week can upload their work to thedotclub.org/dotday/
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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