The One Million Masterpiece: Charity meets creativity

Is one of your New Year's resolutions to give more to charity? If you want to have a little fun and get more involved with a project beyond writing a check, there's The One Million Masterpiece.

Is one of your New Year's resolutions to give more to charity? If you want to have a little fun and get more involved with a project beyond writing a check, there's The One Million Masterpiece. The project combines squares of user-created art in a giant mosaic. Squares can be purchased via donation, and users can make their own masterpieces using a browser-based drawing interface similar to Microsoft Paint.

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Navigating the masterpiece is fairly simple and reminiscent of Google Maps. You can zoom in and out, and drag your mouse to move around the canvas. You're also able to find out more about individual pieces of art by dragging a small information box around any of the squares.

Your donations can go to one of five charities: Save the Children, Oxfam, Action Aid, World Cancer Research Fund, and the WWF. You can select which one you want to donate to. You also can register and post a picture for free, but that somewhat defeats the purpose of the site.

One of the coolest aspects of creating your own painting is the Replay feature of the drawing tool. It keeps track of your strokes, and lets you play it back like a movie. You can do this with any of the other user paintings on the site, and it's quite entertaining with the more advanced works. You also can send your work as an eCard (which recipients can watch being drawn). The eCards also contain an invitation to join the project.

This is a great idea and reminiscent of the Million Dollar Homepage in terms of scope and scale, and similar to the AIDS Quilt in intent. Thus far, One Million Masterpiece has raised over $13,400. I'm not sure organizers will make their goal of $1 million given their end date in about six months, but the project certainly is a fun and interactive way to give to charity.

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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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