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There’s something really wonderful about being part of a community art project, even one that takes place online. Being a small piece of the whole can take the pressure off and feel liberating. Seeing the great variety in the work of others can inspire and somehow lessen feelings of intimidation. And the finished work, a very individual yet very communal creation, is always a beautiful surprise.

In 2011, I participated in a Portland, OR community knit mural project called You Are The Chosen One. The mural, composed of 108 squares knit by 99 artists, was the brainchild of Seann McKeel, who conceived of the theme, designed the grid, organized the knitters, and assembled the work. The only requirement was that the squares be a certain size, and the rest was up to the individual knitter, which generated a beautiful variety of squares. I signed up to do the H square in CHOSEN, and learned intarsia, a knitting technique that was new to me.

The squares were assembled by McKeel and friends into a large hanging mural that read YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE, and was displayed in downtown Portland in September 2011.

photo-142McKeel invited contributors to submit statements about what they feel they are chosen for, encouraging much reflection about the purpose of one’s life. The statements are as personal and varied as the squares themselves. What are you chosen for?

photo-141McKeel, the co-producer of You Who!, a monthly Portland children’s rock variety show, also organized the 2010 community-based art project knitnotwar 1000, an art installation composed of 1000 knitted cranes, an international symbol of peace. You can read about the inspiration for the project here, and if you want to knit cranes yourself, you can find the pattern here.

Interested in reading about a children’s community art project? Take a look here.