Mission

Point + Line enables a diverse community of artists and art enthusiasts to engage in meaningful dialogue about art.

About

Point + Line is an online community for artists and art enthusiasts. We aim to create a vibrant, welcoming space for conversation about art.

For many, art is distant. It’s hidden in museums, examined in textbooks, and considered thoughtfully by a select few. But we believe art is bigger than the intricate theory, the high-end gallery, the formal critique. We believe art is for everyone. And, at its core, art is a conversation. It tells a story and asks us questions. It inspires, teaches, and challenges. And, in the end, it asks for a reply.

Point + Line is a community ready to reply. For the artist to share her work and ideas. For the student to question and learn. For the viewer to discover and relate. For all of us to find and create inspiration.

Art speaks. The Point + Line community responds. What do you have to say?

Q + A

Why did you start Point + Line?

We believe in creating a centralized platform that hosts a substantive but accessible public dialogue about art. Through facilitating and capturing this dialogue online, we hope that:

  • Artists will be able to connect and deepen their relationship with viewers to whom their work speaks. We believe that by understanding how their work is perceived, artists can grow their practice of art and its value as visual communication.
  • Viewers will be able to discover art that excites them, engage with that art, and connect directly with artists. By giving the viewer a voice, they become an active and critical participant in the art process.
How is Point + Line different from other social media platforms?

We believe that meaningful conversations and connections are what will differentiate Point + Line from other online social communities. In the age of the ubiquitous "like" button, 140 character limits, and comments that all say "awesome work," "great use of light," or "this sucks," we believe in creating a social platform that emphasizes depth over breadth.

Why the name "Point + Line"?

The name was inspired by the title of Wassily Kandinsky's book "Point and Line to Plane." The book was first published in 1926 as the 9th in a series of 14 Bauhaus books edited by Walter Gropius and L. Moholy-Nagy. In this highly influential book, Kandinsky develops the idea of point as the "proto-element" of painting and the combination of point and line that results in a unique visual language. The name seemed perfect for our project, which hinges on the idea of art as visual communication.

Why is there a character minimum for starting a discussion?

At the risk of sounding like your eighth grade English teacher, we have implemented a 250-character minimum for starting discussions. The reason is simple. We want Point + Line to be a platform for meaningful conversation. That means we're asking community members to go beyond "love this" and tell us why. So, instead of "nice use of light," think, "The use of light in this piece effectively conveys the idea of contrast. A soft light illuminates the face of the girl, leads the viewer to focus on the red bow in her hair, and gives her an angelic quality. While my eye was immediately drawn to the girl, I continue to find myself wondering what is lurking in the hard shadows behind. Any guesses?" (That was 348 characters by the way).

Who runs Point + Line?

Dan Leng, Founder

Point + Line was created by Dan Leng, a photographer and software developer from Seattle, Washington. Dan graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Art History and Computer Science from Duke University in 2000. He worked for 13 years in the tech industry, the last 10 at Amazon.com, before deciding to venture out on his own to combine his passion for fine art with technology. Dan founded Point + Line in 2014 with the belief that a more substantive but accessible dialogue on art could benefit artists and viewers alike. Dan was selected as a National Art Strategies Creative Community Fellow for his work on Point + Line in 2015.

Catherine Haley Epstein, Co-Founder

Catherine joined the Point + Line team in 2016. She has been an advisor to Point + Line since its inception. She is an artist and writer and brings a variety of management experience to Point + Line. Catherine has served on the panel for Visual Artist grants for the National Endowment for the Arts, and as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of Visual Thinking Strategies, a non-profit based in New York City that has developed a proprietary program to teach children to think critically using fine art. She is a lifelong advocate for arts in schools, and has worked with many organizations on projects and in advisory roles to advance learning through the arts. As a gallery owner she was featured in the New York Times about her change of direction from a successful management-consulting career. As an artist she has exhibited throughout the US, and has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, the Headlands Center for the Arts and abroad in Montespertoli, Italy.

Why should I join P+L?

P+L is a community of people who believe in art and its importance in society and culture. Unlike other art-based communities, P+L provides a unique platform benefiting both artists and viewers.

As an artist, your work is exposed to and discussed by a variety of engaged viewers (who may be other artists, gallery owners, curators, writers, or art-passionate members of the general public) provide new perspectives on your work. You can learn exactly how your work is interpreted and engage in meaningful conversation about your work.

As a community member, you will see unique works by professional artists not readily seen in galleries or museums. You will have direct access to artists and other art enthusiasts and will be able to share your thoughts on works that inspire you. By being a part of the conversation, you will not only learn new ways of looking at work, but you have the opportunity to influence the work and how the community understands it.

Sounds great! How do I join the community?

Click on the join link in the header of the site to create a profile and become a P+L community member. Once your profile is created, you’ll be able to find, follow, or discuss works on P+L.

How do I start a discussion?

After joining P+L, simply find a work that provokes or inspires you. Tell us what you see in the work or ask the artist a question about their intention or process. We encourage you to start with works that have not yet been discussed. Discussions need to be a minimum of 250 characters. Remember, it is the continuous, courageous, and insightful dialogue that powers our community.

Why Is there a character minimum for starting a discussion?

At the risk of sounding like your eighth grade English teacher, we have implemented a 250-character minimum for starting discussions. The reason is simple. We want Point + Line to be a platform for meaningful conversation. That means we're asking community members to go beyond "love this" and tell us why. So, instead of "nice use of light," think, "The use of light in this piece effectively conveys the idea of contrast. A soft light illuminates the face of the girl, leads the viewer to focus on the red bow in her hair, and gives her an angelic quality. While my eye was immediately drawn to the girl, I continue to find myself wondering what is lurking in the hard shadows behind. Any guesses?" (That was 348 characters by the way).

I’m not an art critic! Can you offer some advice on writing about art?

Starting or joining discussions on P+L is not about being an eloquent art writer or well-informed critic. It’s about sharing what you see in a work, how it makes you feel, what it makes you think about, what questions it brings up. Our ultimate goal for P+L discussions is that we, as a collective community, learn.

That said, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some thoughts to get you started:

  • Not sure how where to begin? Look at the art. We mean, really look at it. Examine the details. Ruminate on it. Engage your imagination. Be curious. What do you see? What do you think it means? How does it make you feel? What does it make you wonder? Once you’ve worked through all that, be straightforward in sharing your ideas. Be sure to tell the community why you think what you do, in your own words.
  • Have questions about the work? Ask the artist.
  • Thinking of making a criticism? We encourage all levels of engagement and feedback, but ask that it be done respectfully. Remember, the goal here is for learning. Be emotionally confident and morally comfortable, both about making a criticism, and about dealing with the response. Oh, and it’s a good idea to research the subject of criticism to maintain the factual integrity. Finally, remain consistent and honest before, during, and after a criticism is expressed.
  • Be curious and enjoy yourself! And remember, writing takes practice. The more your write, the easier (and the more eloquent) it will be.
Why Is there a character minimum for starting a discussion?

At the risk of sounding like your eighth grade English teacher, we have implemented a 250-character minimum for starting discussions. The reason is simple. We want Point + Line to be a platform for meaningful conversation. That means we're asking community members to go beyond "love this" and tell us why. So, instead of "nice use of light," think, "The use of light in this piece effectively conveys the idea of contrast. A soft light illuminates the face of the girl, leads the viewer to focus on the red bow in her hair, and gives her an angelic quality. While my eye was immediately drawn to the girl, I continue to find myself wondering what is lurking in the hard shadows behind. Any guesses?" (That was 348 characters by the way).

What's up with the lightbulb button? What is “insightfulness”?

Next to each discussion point, you will see a small lightbulb button. This button is used to mark a discussion point “insightful.” When community members find your discussion thought provoking or helpful, they can mark it “insightful.” Likewise, you can also mark other discussions insightful. For every insightful vote a community member earns, they are closer to becoming a P+L Scholar (see below), unlocking additional privileges.

I'm an artist. Can I show my work on P+L?

If you are interested in showing your artwork, please join the community (if you haven't already), then send images of three of your works and an artist statement to artist@pointandline.com. Your work will be reviewed by the P+L Scholar team. You will be notified within 2-4 weeks if you are selected to be a P+L artist or not. We encourage you to continue using the site as an active community member (start or join discussions on works) during the review process.

Why does P+L have an invitation process to show artwork?

All artists who post work must be selected by the P+L Scholar team (see below). P+L is a community at heart – the community is responsible for contributing discussions, asking questions, and also building membership. Having community members responsible for artists they select ensures a level of quality, diversity, and understanding of the mission at hand. Think of it as a crit group - you only want to invite those who are better than you (so you learn more), or in other words, who are doing high quality work. We understand this is an organic process, but find it a refreshing alternative to the juried access usually available to artist registries etc.

Who are P+L Scholars?

P+L Scholars are the stewards of our community. They are responsible for selecting the work that is shown on P+L and will be eligible for other exciting opportunities currently in development.

Can I become a P+L Scholar?

Thanks for asking! We’re extremely excited to meet community members who want to play a larger role in shaping our membership and programming. We consider applicants primarily based on demonstrated insight/engagement in P+L discussions, but also consider relevant experience, and diversity given the current Scholar pool. If you’re new to the community, we strongly suggest participating in discussions before applying.

If interested, please email a brief statement about why you think you’d be a good fit and supporting documentation (e.g. CV, writing sample) that shows your relevant experience to scholar@pointandline.com. You’ll hear from us within 2 weeks of submitting your application.

What if I notice suspicious, or inappropriate dialogue in the P+L community?

We adhere to quality standards here at P+L and we strive to keep that in line as best we can. If you come across some content or dialogue that you deem suspicious and inappropriate, please contact us at notok@pointandline.com.

We also reserve the right to remove community member profiles or content should they cross the line of community standards. Additionally, if a profile has been dormant for a substantial amount of time, we will contact the profile owner to re-engage. With no response we would consider removing the profile from the site.

Not sure what is appropriate? Check out our terms of service.

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