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Teaching Stones

Artist Team: Academy of Art University Graduate Students under the direction of Professor Donna Schumacher (2007)

Teaching Stones is a tribute to Doris Dillon, a beloved teacher and community member. Doris Dillon was known for her generous spirit and passion for teaching. She engaged students through games, and it was often said that she could “teach a rock to read.”

Teaching Stones consists of two primary elements. The first is a reading/sitting area, inspired by one of Doris’ favorite activities: story telling. The reading area provides a place to sit and share stories in the traditional manner of gathering in a circle. The decomposed granite interior of the circle extends outward to the sidewalk forming the overall shape of a keyhole, a reflection of Doris’ belief that reading is a key to learning and knowledge, which she shared through teaching.

The second element is a series of nine large smooth-surfaced granite stones that are placed throughout the Liquid Amber Tree grove where the project is sited. Each stone is inscribed with a ribbon containing words from one of the elements of language: nouns, verbs, etc. The words chosen and sandblasted into the stones were collected inspired by Doris Dillon’s life and work. In the same spirit in which Doris fostered learning through play, the stones can serve as a playful learning tool for future generations: rubbings can be done on the stones with pencil and paper, with students moving from stone to stone, gathering a noun from one, a verb from another and onward until a full sentence is collected.

This commemorative artwork honors Doris Dillon’s legacy of mixing learning with pleasure in the form of a gift to the community she loved so well.

District: 10

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  • (Public Art) Community & Youth Centers
  • (Public Art) Permanent Artworks

Public Art - Teaching Stones - 1
Public Art - Teaching Stones - 2
Public Art - Teaching Stones - 3

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