Isn’t it remarkable how during the worst of times, the good things in life shine brighter? We are all living through such a difficult moment in history. If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that even through this long storm, there is still so much sunlight that shines through the clouds.
With online learning, mask-wearing, distancing, and experiencing anxiety about socializing, we are having unprecedented experiences, which most often range from difficult to downright traumatic. It is against the dim backdrop of this seemingly unending ache that I want to say thank you for all of those who have, miraculously, given me a renewed sense of the preciousness of life, and of the connections we share.
In our studios I have witnessed (from at least six feet away), students taking such pride in their work. I have watched them relax, focus, and have faith in themselves that if they keep trying, they will make something beautiful. Bit by bit, they become stronger, calmer, more patient, and more skilled.
Our teachers who turned on a dime and adapted to both online instruction and to socially distant teaching, have my gratitude. I can’t believe the cheer and encouragement I have witnessed, and continue to view each day as they light up around their students, though most of them have been experiencing personal challenges like never before.
To the people who create our curriculum and provided drawings for students to create online, I am amazed and grateful at our collaboration to create a truly amazing online experience. This online program is only just born, and is such a silver lining through all of this.
Our students are so strong, resilient and inspiring. Some did not want to return to the studio for safety reasons at first or were skeptical about learning online, but those who took the chance have our appreciation and respect. We are so happy that they gave themselves a chance.
And you, the parents of our students, are on my gratitude list this year. I am deeply grateful to you for trusting us to provide what they need. We know that so many families are going through so much right now, and we are honored to be your partners in supporting your children’s development and wellbeing through art.
I am grateful for parents who chose full goodwill pricing for our online program. I am grateful for the many people who have given us a five-star Yelp review in recent months. I am grateful for your video testimonials. I am grateful for every parent who has been kind to our staff on the phone. The list goes on and on. Your faith in Art Steps this year is carrying us through. Together, we can be better and stronger when more normal days return.
More than anything, I am grateful for the ways that I watch children experience joy:
- In the studio, a little boy exclaims through his mask, “Art class is my favorite place!”
- A parent reports that her child is always happier after every online art class.
- A recent online student returns to in-studio and blows her teachers away with her independence at drawing (it really is so shockingly effective!).
- An entire class focuses in hushed silence, each artist fully embracing a screen-free present moment.
- A teen in-studio holds her head high, proud to behold her oil masterpiece, knowing and palpably feeling her worth today.
Through this program, I see healthy children. Strong children. I watch children heal.
The bright colors, balance, and light of each finished artwork reminds me that hope springs eternal. All of this is what I am grateful for this Thanksgiving. Who and what are on your gratitude list this year?