Socially Distant but Creatively Close: Share an art class with a friend or family member

As the pandemic forces us all to stay home, stay safe, and stay distant, that separation can be difficult, especially over the holidays. Though technology can help to keep us connected, it can’t always match the richness of sharing important moments with those we care about. But don’t despairthere’s a cheat code, a life hack: art classes! 

At the Center for Creative Exploration (CCE) this winter, children, cousins, friends, parents, and even grandparents can take one-session arts workshops together online. These spaces allow families a deeper, more expressive way to share and connect. 

The motivation for taking Notan Design with my friend Jackie came during a discussion we were having about the lack of things to do together during the pandemic,” says CCE student, Kim Potcovaru. “Jackie and I wanted to put virtual plans on our calendar that would help us feel better and keep our spirits up.” 

In addition to Notan Design, we’ve got many exciting options for classes, like watercolor, collage, poetry, bookbinding, and even a chance for generations to play together at drawing animals all cozied up in sweaters

Held live on Google Meet (an easy-to-use virtual meeting platform much like Zoom), these arts workshops are active, generative spaces where instructors provide the students techniques, activities, prompts, and suggestions for taking creative projects beyond the workshop itself. In each class there’s time to make art, time to share work with others, and time to ask questions, all in the name of deepening your connection with art as well as with your friends or family members. 

If the idea of taking an art class feels intimidating, taking the class with a friend can help. “I feel more relaxed and happy when I have a friend in classthere’s laughter and friendliness right away. It was also fun taking a class where neither of us knew the techniques so we could discover new things together. This makes it easier to take risks, ask questions, and create in a more relaxed way” says Kim. 

Jackie Smith, who signed up with Kim for Notan Design, adds, “You feel inspired because you see how your friend approaches the artwork differently than you, and you learn from them. You see things from a different perspective. Because you already know the person, you might feel more comfortable looking at their work, asking questions and gaining inspiration.

If you have someone you miss, someone you like to spend time with, or even someone you need a creative gift idea for, these “small bite” creative workshops are the perfect solution. Because even though you’re socially distant, you can still be creatively close. 

Need more inspiration? Here are just a few options we’re offering this Winter. Explore pcad.edu/classes for the full list of workshops and classes.

WS 10 – Drawing Animals in Sweaters: For the Whole Family! | $40 | Jan 18 | 6 – 7:30 pm
One registration covers the household! A family that makes art together has fun together! In this intergenerational workshop, families will learn how to draw some furry friends – or scaly ones. But how do you think they’d look when we put them in a nice comfortable sweater?

WS 151 – Notan Design | $10 |  Jan 26 | 6 – 9:00 pm
For something a little different, but visually stunning. Students will explore the art of Notan Design,  a Japanese design concept involving play and placement of light and dark shapes or elements. Students will create designs and use black paper to cut out shapes and place them in a way that the positive and negative cut shapes will mirror and balance each other out on white card stock. This is a great workshop for creative makers that want to explore a refined, simplified, yet elegant aesthetic.

WS 138 – Automatic Drawing Workshop | $45 | Jan 30 | 9:30 – 12:30 pm
For something relaxing, meditative, and inspiring. In automatic drawing, the subconscious is the focus, as you let your hand move freely and “randomly” across the paper. Automatic drawing can expand your creativity, and break down artistic resistance in the creative process. Students will learn the history behind automatic drawing as well as techniques to bring elements of this process into their own work. 

WS 94 – Intro to Bookbinding with Reclaimed Materials | $45 | Feb 10 | 6:30 – 9:00 pm
For those who like to make things with their hands. In this workshop, students will transform common stuff they find around them into bookbinding material and tools. Students will learn foundational, non-adhesive bookbinding techniques and will create two single-section books using reclaimed material and repurposed tools.

WS 146 – Poetry Writing – Hybrid Forms | $35 | Feb 17 | 6:00 – 8:00 pm
For the poets, experienced or not. This workshop will invite participants to produce poetic works outside of the bounds of genre categories. Exploring hybrid forms will involve crossing and blending forms into new, pliable, more fertile ones capable of capturing the liminality (in-betweenness) of contemporary life and art. This workshop will include generative prompts, discussions of model texts, a taxonomy of hybrid forms, and further writing opportunities beyond the single class session.

WS 119 – Watercolor Explorations | $20 | Feb 23 | 6:00 – 9:00 pm
For the painters, newbies or not. In this online watercolor workshop, we will go over the basics of watercolor materials, techniques, composition, and color theory. We will focus our energy into creating a still life watercolor from observation. This is designed to be a good refresher, an introduction to the medium, and a way to “try-it” if you’ve not taken an online art studio course before.

WS 120 – Collage: Techniques & Possibilities | $20 | March 23 | 6:00 – 9:00 pm
For the collectors, scrap-bookers, and recyclers. This online workshop will be part art history lecture and part creating art. We will begin by taking a brief survey into the history of collage and explore its use as a tool for idea-building and as an art form. We will then dive into a few different collage exercises that are designed to invigorate your creativity and expand your horizons. This workshop is perfect for artists who are looking to add some new energy into their art practice.