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Tell Me Why/A Group Portrait. 2002. 11' x 48'. Mixed Media. Photo: Harrison Judd.

Anchor 1

(Click Image to Enlarge Slideshow of Snapshot Details.)

Participating Students:


CCSU-Kim Howard, Brian Kosnoff, Lynne Zelasko

ECSU-Mikael “Augie” Augustine, Brock Arsenault, Jen Borysewicz, Grace Buck, Jen Collins, Jennie Henning, Brian Garman, Jason Ma, Mark Massicotte, Michelle Montgomery, Sarah Nessing, Stephanie Roe, Erin Twomey, Chad Walker, Katy Wols

SCSU-Antonio Albuquerque, Ifrane Brennan, Larissa Hall, Belinda Hinds, Casey Hood, Lauren Laudano, Evin Liljengren, Jennifer Philbrook, Beth Shaw, Rachel Romano

WCSU-Alicia Ammirata, George Elder, Patricia Faustin, Tina Horan, Allison Iacovacci, Kyle Lampe, Asim Mellow, Alan Moisio, Linda Nemergut, Juli Tavalsky, Manualwel Terrell, Nera Tertavich, Missy Tertavich, Letitia Wallace, Carol Williams

Project Technical Director: Rebecca Boyden

Project Assistant: Ival Stratford-Kovner 

Project Web Site Web Master: Joe Svelnys (ECSU) 


Slideshow. Mural Details/snapshots.

Photo Left/Installation Day 1, CBB & Asim Mellow.

& for more Visiting Artist Projects see


A collaborative self- and group- portrait done in words & images by 21 9th and 10th grade students in a day-long class at The Wheatley School.

Tell Me Why/A Group Portrait

From the strain of binding opposites comes harmony.

– Heraclitus


This large-scale installation drawing is a group portrait of 45 students from the 4 Connecticut State University campuses. Our theme song was Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers' 'Why Do Fools Fall in Love'—hence Tell Me Why.


Each of the students created a self-portrait in objects and images from their past, present and 'future' (2 objects/images for each era) and provided one word or phrase that was meaningful to them, ALL of which they brought to the 2-day installation as their part of the group portrait. There were fixed rules for scale and color, etc.


The initial assignments were given over a 5-week period via a website created for the project with assistance from one of the students who chose to participate behind the scenes. After the assignments, I did day-long, on-site workshop visits to each campus to work with the students while they finished up their self-portrait objects/images/words. I brought fluorescent paint and china markers to help bind all of the disparate pieces/parts together for what I envisioned as the final group portrait. 


For the 2-day installation, we painted the approximately 11' x 48' walls (the photos don't accurately show that the 2 end walls curved/opening outward) with high-load black theater paint; we created a grid and a formal 'frame' for the piece and then used a random system of object/image placement—the grid squares were numbered and then the students selected 6 numbers from a basket that determined their place on the wall. Once their objects were placed on the wall, the students then drew BLUE lines in china marker from Past object/image to Past object/image—ORANGE lines connected Present and WHITE Future. In keeping with the spirit of chance that was a part of the piece, the words and phrases were printed up as Fortune Cookie fortunes and randomly attached to the wall.


The real reward was watching the revelation of the link between self and group in creating the whole.



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