Ben Rubin For Younger Children

silhouette of building facade

And That's The Way It Is


Ben Rubin

American, born 1964

Subject: Patterns

Activity: Create repeating patterns within the grid lines

Materials: Paper, ruler, and drawing supplies (markers, crayons, or pencils)

Vocabulary: Symbol, pattern


A pattern is a decorative design that often repeats a series of symbols, images, words, letters, numbers, or any other shape. You can see patterns all around you everyday in pictures, in books, on clothing, or on buildings. Sometimes they are part of the basic design of an object. In this building, the windows are all the same size and shape, creating a repeating pattern across the building. Patterns can also be used in writing, especially in poems that rhyme.

This artist looked for patterns in speech from current and past news broadcasts and projected them onto the pattern of the building.


What patterns do you see on the building?

What patterns do you see in the projections?


Look at how the artist has responded to the patterns in the building with his projection. 


Ask the child to create a grid similar to the building’s design on a piece of paper. (Or draw the grid for the child in advance.) Ask the child to pick a couple of symbols (images, shapes, colors, numbers, letters, etc.) and design a repetitive pattern to go into the grid of the building.


Symbol —A letter, character, or sign used instead of a word or group of words

Pattern —An artistic form, figure, or design