The Story of the Puzzle Mural

Updated: Nov 24

I started working for the Lynnwood Recreation Center in WA around 1992 teaching art for children and adults. It was a special time for me for I love inspiring people to be more creative. There are a lot of great memories of many projects and classes that I taught.

The center asked me if I would teach an intergenerational class. I proposed doing a large mural- 8’ long by 6’ wide. The idea was that I created a large mock up with collaged pictures of people of all ages joined together. Then enlarged the smaller collage on butcher paper the size of the panels. To make this project more interesting cut into puzzle pieces. I was glad that I thought of numbering each puzzle piece. Each adult and child had one or more puzzle pieces to paint using the mock up collage as a sample of colors.

This is the collage that I created to start this project. I used photographs of family, friends and neighbors to create the mock up of the design.

It was an 8+ week project. Each week there were often different people children and senior citizens joining in to do their part painting the puzzle mural.

At the end of the project, everyone who was in the class put their handprint on the back and signed their name.

I still chuckle when I think of what both the children and adults said about each others paintings. The adults asked if they could redo the children’s artwork and the children asked if they could redo the adults artwork. The answer was always “NO” explaining that every person is talented and has their own way or expressing their creativity. That is what made the project so special.” Different ideas on what is perfect from the different ages.

Look closely and you can see the puzzle pieces. Can you tell which of them was created by the children and which were painted by the adults?

Sometimes when I get these ideas of creative ways to accomplish something, I never know how it will turn out. It was quite a success. Thank you Lynwood Rec Dept. for the opportunity years ago to have so much fun with the intergenerational class.

That was over 25+ years ago. I am not sure if the mural is still there or not. If you live in the Lynnwood area of WA and have seen it there please let me know they still have it. OR if you were a participant of this creation, I would love to hear from you. You may have been between 8-15years or 55 to 80 years.

-Catherine Foster

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