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The Curious Scroll

Vietnam Vet is about to cross out HATE.
I want to see the beauty in admitting I’m wrong.  I want to help others do this, so we can have better conversations.

Origins of the Curious Scroll

"If you want to live your life constantly hating then live your life constantly hating... Open up your eyes, look out and appreciate the beauty in the world.  Turn something negative into something positive.  Kill 'em with kindness"The first marks on this Curious Scroll occured at the 2016 Republican and Democratic political conventions, when hundreds of people found their calm painting on this 170-foot-long spool of linen.

The Scroll Comes to Santa Cruz

An avid Trump supporter and myself disagreed and enjoyed each other's energy outside of Johnnie's Market in Boulder Creek.Then people in Santa Cruz County added a second layer of marks and paint during the November 2018 election season. We explored questions like:

  • What is beautiful to you? 
  • What is ugly to you?
  • Have does something ugly become beautiful? 
  • How can the ugliness in our politics become beautiful?
  • Would you be willing to find a disagreement with me while we paint on this scroll?

I am grateful to all the people who taught me more about how to be in my loving presence while having conversations with those I disagree with.  I'm still a beginner.

What's Next:

In 2020, I had planned to bring the Curious Scroll to places where the tension is greatest.  I was excited and terrified to invite opposing sides to meet and try to convince each other of their point of view while they tie the scroll into a knot.  How tight do you think the knot would get when let’s say, gun rights activists and gun control activists try to convince the other why they are right as they tie the scroll into a knot?  Then I would have asked both sides to work together to untie that knot in silence. 


But after one knot tying and untying experiment on the subject of housing, Covid 19 ended plans for The Curious Scroll in 2020 as it would be dangerous to share this in person.  


The Curious Scroll traveled around and created a commonality of experience.  All kinds of people to played with art materials and share conversation accross political diferences designed to enhance curiosity and compassion.  How in the midst of this pandemic and this vitriolic election season can we do that?  


OK, I’m triggered!


I find myself triggered by parts of me and others that are controlling and angry and afraid.  I have difficulty being truly curious.  It feels like life and death are at stake. I'm concerned with safety, sustenance, prosperity, equality, democracy and the well being of humanity itself on this dear brutalized planet feel like life and death.  I can imagine both those who are conservative and those who are liberal experiencing this life and death urgency.  We're all in an all or nothing mentality and we are playing tug o war with the scroll instead of workin together to untie the knot.  How can we be calm enough to communicate with the other?


So I’m making a new art making meditation to de-escalate triggers and help us return to curiosity and compassion.

Thank you to all have supported this project and Arts Council Santa Cruz County for the initial grant.  

See how KSBW News covered The Curious Scroll here.

The feeling of painting, drawing, collaging helps us be in our bodies.  We can relax into a mindset of curiosity.  We can pay attention to what our bodies know, instead of what our critical voices are saying.  We can discern instead of judge, evaluate instead of fight, experiment instead of needing to be right.


Artwork Pager

Artwork Pager

Artwork Pager