Tara Lynnsmith McConnell


Tara Lynnsmith McConnell was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Colorado. She is now a Denver based community and participatory artist. She holds a Master’s of Art in Integrated Arts and Education from the University of Montana, Missoula, and a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier, Vermont. McConnell has worked as an art teacher for nine years and is experienced working with kindergarten through adult-aged students. She hosts art and worship integration workshops and created a participatory project for 500 teen-agers in the 2013 ELCA Senior High Youth Gathering based on the theme “The Wonder of it All.” McConnell has exhibited publicly in Fraser, Colorado, Decorah, Iowa, and at the College Hall Gallery of Vermont College of Fine Arts. McConnell’s 22 foot tall interactive and theme-based tree project was the center piece for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America’s Synod Assemblies for 2013 and 2014. The tree sculpture was also featured in the Lutheran Magazine. McConnell’s current work explores multi-media painting and designed experiences of play to encourage her viewers to reflect upon conditions of community connection and habitual norms.


As an artist and a person I thrive on encounters that inspire wonder, allow people to play, and establish the possibility for true connection with others. I believe that all human beings are loved wholly by the Creator of the Universe and we all have the ability to make choices that contribute to the greater good or detriment of our world. When human choices perpetuate patterns of violence and oppression, establish systems of inequity, reduce human beings to mere consumers, and normalize community disconnect, my artistic practice instead seeks to offer counter narratives to forces of destruction and dehumanization and intentionally be life-affirmative by creating experiences of serendipitous interruption, awe, and the opportunity to change. I explore the use of play to inspire discourse about joy and hope, realize the value in mystery and experiment, and reiterate the preciousness of all human beings. Through the use of play, social interactivity, object making, material connotation, historical and political reference, and artistic experimentation, I choose to work in ways that allow us to further understand and live lives of love.