Kimberly McNeelan

Evolution of Reading at White River
State Park


Evolution of Reading is a modern, cave-like form that creates a unique educational experience about the history of reading and writing. Anyone that chooses to enter and explore the interior library will be surprised to find a timeline on the wall referencing the cave paintings, which are the first known form of written symbols. The concept is to convey the development in reading and writing in our history as a progression, which has resulted in the current goal to make books and information accessible to everyone. White River State Park is an advantageous setting for Evolution of Reading because the aesthetic qualities of the sculpture accentuate the surrounding cityscape and it fits in with the adventurous environment of the park. The structure is designed to be inviting for all people to have easy access to the informative timeline and the books inside.

The intent of using a cave-like sculpture as a modern lending library is to reference the origin of communicating in written form. The first known written communication was via symbols, by the cave painters of the Neolithic Age. The undulating curves and lines of Evolution of Reading metaphorically reference the steps and stages that have occurred in drafted communication. Language is universal, but communicating through documentation was an invention. Aristotle said (On Interpretation), “Spoken words are the symbols of mental experience, and written words are the symbols of spoken words.” This project references history and development by marrying old and new through construction techniques, materials, and concept.

Evolution of Reading

Western Red Cedar, steel, polycarbonate

12 x 7.5 x 7.5 feet

About the Artist

Kimberly McNeelan started her woodworking journey at age 8 in a small Indiana town when she decided her playhouse needed furnishings. She received her BFA from Purdue University. After Purdue, through the Roger Cliffe Memorial Scholarship, she studied at Mark Adams School of Woodworking. In 2005, she began working with Michael Cullen in Petaluma, California, via the Baulines Craft Guild Apprentice Scholarship. She is currently working towards her MFA at Herron School of Art and Design.

Kimberly is a woodworker, artist, and teacher as well as a student. Unique sculptural furniture, commissions, teaching hobbyists/kids woodworking, community engagement, and collaborative artwork have been her focus. She is also a contributing author for Woodworker’s Journal, and just released her first woodworking DVD.


November 2015 - August 2019


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