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Story: Sia Connects the Dots

By L. Zouras

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
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Creative
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On a field trip to an art museum, Sia and her class see the famous painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. Her teacher asks the class to paint their own neighborhood, like Georges Seurat did. Sia doesn’t think anyone would want to see where she lives. Will she be able to find something to paint? Read the story to find out!
Sia Connects the Dots

My class is visiting the art museum today. I can’t wait! I sit at the front of the bus, next to the art teacher. 

We’re going to look at a painting called A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. It shows a park in France. We’ve seen pictures of the painting at school. But now we’ll see the real thing. 

“Afterward, we’ll paint our own neighborhood,” I hear Ms. Kattan say. 

I stop smiling. 

Our bus rolls past garbage and graffiti and old buildings. I sigh. Nothing to paint here. 

After a while, we pass skyscrapers and planters filled with forever-greens. I breathe. We’re almost there. 

When we stop, I hop off and wave to the bronze lions out front. I know them because Mama cleans offices nearby. But I’ve never been inside the museum. 

It’s hushed, like a library. I stand up straight. We climb the stone staircase, and our feet echo. Finally, we reach the painting we came to see. 

It’s huge! I spread my arms to float in its shimmery light. 

“What do you notice?” Ms. Kattan asks the class. 

“Boats!” “A monkey!” kids say. 

I shut one eye and tilt my head. “It’s fuzzy,” I say. “Why?” 

“This picture is made with tiny dots of paint,” Ms. Kattan says. “This way of painting is called pointillism.” 

I call it magic, putting all those dots tight together to show one big sparkling place. I can roll in the soft grass, pet a puppy, dip my toe into the water. I even twirl a sunny-brella, like one of those fancy ladies in that park. 

But when Ms. Kattan tells us to be inspired for our own paintings, I tumble back into the real world. 

“What’s wrong?” she asks. 

“This park doesn’t look like where I live,” I say. 

Ms. Kattan smiles. “When you’re the artist, you decide what people see.” 

I peer sideways at La Grande Jatte, looking for a clue. Then I spot him. The man in the undershirt. He reminds me of someone. Who? 

I’ve got it. He looks just like Poppa G., selling ice pops! I think of my street in summer—when the whole city shines. And suddenly, I know what to paint. I’m the first one back on the bus. 

At school, I dab colors for the sun and the sky. I dab kids dunking baskets and racing scooters. I dab workers eating lunch and people sharing stories. A train rattles by. 

“Beautiful,” Ms. Kattan says. 

But I’m not done until I set myself in the scene. Eating a treat! 

I call my painting A Sunny Day on Sia’s Street. 

A Look at the Real Painting 

Georges Seurat took two years (1884 to 1886) to paint A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. He used a way of painting called pointillism. Tiny dots of color are placed next to each other, and they blend to form one image when viewed from a distance. 

The painting is about 7 feet high by 10 feet wide, roughly the size of a single-car garage door. It shows 48 people, 8 boats, 3 dogs, 1 butterfly, and 1 monkey. It is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.

From Highlights magazine