"Patrick Dunning from Academic Entertainment is one of the most innovative artists we could have for our Creative Arts Program. He is a modest man, and a talented artist. He begins his show by explaining that he comes from Ireland, and highlighting an installation project that he did of a canvas of half an eye hung directly under a bridge over the River Liffey in Dublin. At dawn, when the river is as still and clear as glass, the canvas appears as a whole eye looking out over the water. He has only done this time of installation once, in Ireland.
He explained his "Signature Project," in which he has collected thousands of people's signatures on hundreds of square panels to form a mural of the sun, earth, stars, and sky. The finished painting, or Project, is a metaphor for life. At the end of the show, he asked all of the adults to sign it in acrylic paint pen.
He integrates science concepts such as footage of the U.S. space shuttle flying into the space, use of the Morse code to design a portrait of his father, and use of telecommunications to place a live telephone call via Skype or phone to his brother Bryan during the show. He explains the cultural aspects of living in Ireland, such as the recipes and cooking, and includes a photo of his mother. He uses photography to show different parts of the U.S. as he is driving on the road. He uses music to explain a historical music concept, Irish ballads and popular shows such as "Riverdance" by featuring two original compositions by his brother, and to explain the concept of the "blues" by playing several blues songs on his electric guitar.
I was seated directly in the middle, at the back of the audience of students and about 20 teachers and administrators. Throughout the show, teachers commented, "he is a genius!" and other phrases to indicate how illuminating his concepts were. He was engaging and held the students' attention easily throughout the show. All of the teachers and the Principal spoke highly of the show. Patrick Dunning made us learn, laugh, and feel connected to each other as part of the human race. He is truly an original artist, musician, and actor!"