The Signature Project

Explores human nature through the lenses of art, technology, and music. The Signature Project, by Irish artist Patrick Dunning, is a performance of incredible artistry.

Age Range

THE SIGNATURE PROJECT school assembly with Patrick Dunning is multifaceted, exploring human nature through the lenses of art, technology, and music. The project itself is an enormous mural measuring 76 feet by 36 feet, more than three stories tall. But, it's also much more. Not painted, but rather every brushstroke is actually a signature. Names of more than three hundred thousand people, collected from all over the world since 1990, hand-signed in a spectrum of colors.   

Layered behind and within the mural are hidden treasures that are discovered as the project is brought to life through live performance. Irish Artist and presenter Patrick Dunning, engagingly weaves together the hidden treasures, stories and images of The Signature Project. 

The live performance of The Signature Project has been described as a one-of-a-kind, thrilling tapestry that blends together music, technology, and art. The Signature Project school assembly is constantly recognized as an outstanding example of how music, art, science, technology, nature, critical thinking and the global impact of diverse cultures touch each and every one of us.

Perfect for STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math. From kindergarten through high school and beyond, The Signature Project is guaranteed to please everyone, especially your teachers!  

With a 45 minute projection show and stage performance, Patrick Dunning reveals a magical view of our world. Your students will see, hear, and experience the most delightful tapestry of the arts, intermingled with wonderful human stories. The Signature Project has been constantly and ecstatically praised for its brilliant integration of the arts in to education, as well as its powerful and moving celebration of world cultures and cultural diversity.

We are honored to offer you this unique school assembly show that will make you laugh, cry, wonder and be amazed! Give this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to your students and faculty today and become part of this international artwork in progress. They will thank you!

Note: Must be 18 years old to sign the project.

Alexandra Mattson, Arts Council of Fairfax County Representative, describes her recent experience while viewing the Signature Project. Please read on….

"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!"

Curriculum Framework

THE SIGNATURE PROJECT - A Curriculum Framework

Introduction and Rationale:

This Unit Framework examines the creative concept of “meaning making.” It has been said that all art has “aboutness” (Barrett, T. 2000). However, artists have different reasons for making art and some choose to leave the meaning open-ended with no specific reference intended. These works can take on contextual meaning from the time and place where the work was created or the viewer can construct understanding based on personal response to formal characteristics.

In contrast, there are artists such as Patrick Dunning who intentionally embed meaning in works of art. For hundreds of years, artists have been fascinated with distortion, illusion and hidden meanings. In the past, this approach to art making may have been used to disguise expression of unpopular ideas or to engage the viewer through mystery where, in the end, a surprise may be uncovered. Not only were symbols used for this purpose, but also unusual perspectives were explored to create illusions that altered or played with meaning.

Two concepts are helpful for a discussion about understanding meaning in art works: intrinsic information and extrinsic information. Intrinsic information may be considered the essential elements that belong naturally to an object. This information is considered inherent. Extrinsic information is the opposite since it comes from outside the object. This can be understanding of the art based on the context of artist and culture.

For example, in The Signature Project, the signatures, the colors, even the symbols that make up the image can be considered intrinsic information. That is, if we are able to study details of the work itself, we can identify the lines, colors, and forms making up the whole. However, Patrick Dunning tells us that for every signature – there is a story and if the “drawing” has a million signatures it will represent or connect with a million stories. Therefore, the story behind every signature is extrinsic information. Even the context of the artist, his culture, as well as the artist’s intended meaning for the symbols, is extrinsic and found outside of the work itself. We discover these layers of meaning in art from explanation or study of the work.

When art works are explored in depth, as they are during the performance of The Signature Project, there is opportunity for intrinsic and extrinsic information to come together. It is this coming together of information that surprises and excites viewers and it is likely that as individuals gain understanding about The Signature Project (or any art work), they will feel a shift in their personal response from what it was when first introduced to the work. Understanding is at the heart of appreciation for art works as it is the beginning of all relationships.

Click here to read the full 7-pages w/References of this Curriculum Framework for The Signature Project

Click here for the printable PDF of this datasheet.

The Signature Project w/ Patrick Dunning Set-up Datasheet

Audience: K-12   Capacity: 400
Presentation Time: 45 to 50 minutes 
Set-Up Time: Must have access to facility 3 hours prior to the show for set up. The night before may be preferred. 
Take-Down Time: 1 hour

Presentation Area: Please have windows darkened if the light in the area is excessive. If you can read a book in the presentation area, then it is too bright for this program. We are striving for “cinema darkness.”

Assembly Requirements: Two electrical outlets close to the presentation area. 
*PLEASE NOTE* The Signature Project is an amazing and unique experience. Patrick Dunning, owner, performer, stage-hand and manager of this wonderful program, wants to ensure your show is the best it can be. While Patrick does not require or need help in setting up for the show, he does have a couple special requests:
- Each venue is different. Patrick is a professional artist and performer, having performed this program literally thousands of times. He knows what will work best in your venue space. Please leave decisions as to equipment placement, seating, enter/exit points and lighting
to his discretion.
- Patrick asks that he be given the opportunity to treat the venue as “his classroom” for that day. He wants the audience to experience the full effect of the program—so teachers, save your paper grading for another time; besides, you do not want to miss a moment of
this performance!
- Must be 18 years old to sign the project.

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Exploring the human spirit through art, music, and technology.

The Signature Project is multi-faceted. Its core is a huge 76 ft x 36 ft mural layered with hidden secrets. A live performance brings the mural to life, with artist Patrick Dunning ingeniously weaving stories and images in the great tradition of Irish artists. A unique, exhilarating tapestry blending art and technology!

Perfect for STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math

Visual Arts. Music. Science. Technology. Math. Critical Thinking. This artwork and performance is constantly recognized as an outstanding example of how music, art, science, technology, nature, critical thinking and the global impact of diverse cultures touch each and every one of us. 

Suitable for all ages!

Elementary, Middle School, High School, and adults - From kindergarten through high school and beyond, The Signature Project is guaranteed to please everyone. Give this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to your students and faculty today and become part of this international artwork in progress. They will thank you!

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Download a Printable PDF of this Datasheet

  • This assembly was one of the best assemblies we've had at our school. It's a presentation that kept our students, staff and parents focused and amazed throughout the entire show. The kids are still talking about it! Thank you, Patrick for sharing this amazing artistic project with us.
    Frosty Lay
    Grandhaven Elementary
    McMinnville, OR

  • One of the most mind-blowing experiences that I've ever had. The presentation is interesting and engaging. I'd recommend it to anyone.
    Matthew Strippoli - Teacher
    Red Bank Charter School
    Red Bank, NJ 

  • Patrick Dunning and The Signature Project was the BEST assembly that we have experienced.  His unique talent of weaving art, music, history, science and technology into a piece of artwork that expresses life and the human spirit is genius.  It is a multisensory, multilayered, living, breathing, project that inspired each teacher and student in the school.  It took our breath away...words cannot adequately describe this assembly!  Thank you!
    Lisa Loeb
    Absecon Public School
    Absecon, NJ

  • I have seen The Signature Project twice and Patrick Dunning never fails to disappoint. This is not an assembly, it is an experience. The Signature Project stands out as the best school assembly I have ever seen. Thank you!!
    Lisa Loeb - Counselor
    Reeds Road ES
    Galloway Twp., NJ

  • This was an incredibly engaging performance. I sat next to a student diagnosed as ADHD and that kid never once looked away from the presentation. A few times I heard him murmur, "this is amazing". I have never seen a show like this. It is very unique with a broad appeal. Whomever selected this show for our school did well. Thank you Patrick!
    Brigid O'Hagan - Teacher
    Access Academy at Vestal
    Portland, OR

  • Everything leading up to the assembly was streamlined and easy. Working with Whitney was great: timely, straight-forward communications. Patrick contacted me with plenty of lead time to do a walk through, and was professional and engaging to talk with. Everyone I spoke with regarding the assembly LOVED it. Thank you!
    Genevieve Stevens-Johnson
    Access Academy at Vestal

    Portland, OR

  • The Signature Project was a HUGE HIT at Laurel - EVERYONE loved it! Thank so much for your recommendation. I trust you so much now and that I would love to know other recommendations that you have for future assemblies - you are my new go to!
    Kathryn Purcell - Associate Head of School
    The Laurel School
    Shaker Heights, OH

  • This was one of the best assemblies we've ever brought to our school.  Patrick was highly engaging, interactive, informative and very well organized for his performance.  The staff and students found it to be a very enriching experience.
    Josie Galloway - Principal
    Shawnee ES
    Easton, PA

  • I wanted to reach out to you directly to say how incredible Signature Project was. I've been booking show for our school for several years, and this was far and away the best we've had. The feedback we received from students and teachers was phenomenal. We will definitely be recommending Patrick to the other schools in our district.
    Laura Epstein - PTA
    Jefferson ES
    South Orange, NJ