Skip to content

No strings attached: David Moore’s kite helps connect with the struggling and isolated

Cathy Dobson Sometimes it’s one person’s small gesture that can make a life-changing difference. Just ask Sarnia’s David Moore.
DSCN7854 (1)
Sarnia artist David Moore is behind a community project to prevent suicide, and is about to start a new art program in local elementary schools. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Sometimes it’s one person’s small gesture that can make a life-changing difference.

Just ask Sarnia’s David Moore.

He was a Grade 9 student at Central Collegiate back in the 1960s when arts teacher Bill Norfolk urged him to enroll in the school’s vocational arts program, rather than pursue the sciences. Moore spent the next three years of high school learning new skills in Norfolk’s classroom.

“That was certainly a turning point for me. If it wasn’t for his direction, maybe I wouldn’t have worked as an artist all of my life,” said the 63-year-old.

“I don’t pretend to be successful, but I’ve had successes for sure.”

Moore graduated from Fanshawe College’s graphic design program, returned home and landed a job at an advertising firm.

His career path has been full of twists and turns, from running print shops at Imperial Oil and Wawanosh Enterprises – where he dated and married co-worker Liz Moore – to teaching graphic design at Lambton College and curating at Gallery Lambton.

Along the way, he’s had exhibitions.

“Not many,” he said.  “I’m not a fast painter.”

And he’s spent considerable time educating and mentoring young or budding artists, just as he was mentored.

Painting is a means of communicating and it can be a wonderful way to connect with others, particularly if you’re feeling lonely or isolated, Moore said.

That’s why he agreed to work with the Sarnia Lambton Suicide Prevention committee to create a 14-foot painting of a kite that invites local residents to add personal notes to the tail.

The kite is done in the bright blues, greens and yellows that characterize much of Moore’s work and reflect his early childhood in Peru, before his father transferred to Sarnia to work at Imperial Oil.

It was introduced recently during World Suicide Prevention Day and will pop up at community events throughout the year, says Donna Martin who has worked on the local committee for nearly 20 years.

“It’s these kinds of little connections with others that can rescue those who are struggling,” said Martin.  “I think the Sarnia arts community has been doing so much to pick those people up.

“Projects like this connect with people.”

Moore is also launching a new art program in local elementary schools this fall.

He calls it Mrs. Hanna’s Cats because it involves a fictional story he tells students about a group of cats that make their way through Sarnia to Canatara Park where they enjoy the land donated by Sarnia philanthropist Maud Hanna many years ago.

“We talk about what the cats see on their trip and the students paint those things. They’re encouraged to think outside the box and, by the time we’re done, they’re going to know about Canatara Park and who Maud Hanna was,” Moore said.

About nine schools – including Hanna Memorial - have signed up for Mrs. Hanna’s Cats with David Moore, which is being partially funded through Lambton County’s Creative Fund.

Do you know a local artist, dancer, poet, singer, or actor who has a great story to be told? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or 226-932-0985 to recommend them for the Arts Journal. 

Join the Community: Receive Our Daily News Email for Free