In an effort to provide children and families with a fun and entertaining way to learn during the pandemic, 18th Street Arts Center will host a number of live online art classes in the coming weeks.

Beginning Wednesday, April 15 and running through the end of June, the upcoming “Arts Learning Lab @ Home” series will be led by professional artists who will each teach two free sessions a week via Zoom every Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m., according to Sue Bell Yank, Deputy Director of 18th Street Arts Center.

Typically, Yank and her peers at the center would be preparing for its Pico Block Party at this time of the year.

“We had to cancel it but we were thinking that the purpose of the Pico Block Party has always been to make connections between our local community, families and artists, both in our international and local communities,” Yank said, “So, we began figuring out how we could translate that to a virtual space while also being responsive to the current situation.”

Yank added, “We wanted kids who are schooling at home to get a dose of art in their week,” so the center came up with the idea of having lessons taught by professional artists.

“We wanted it to relate it to the artist’s practice but we also had to think about what kinds of art could be done easily with materials found at the home,” Yank said, mentioning the workshops will cover a range of hands-on activities like meditation through drawing with artist Claudia Concha, storytelling with artist Yrneh Gabon, a rhythm workshop in your kitchen with professional drummer and 2020 Make Jazz Fellow Shirazette Tinnin, as well as a monster movement workshop with performance artists Beck + Col. “Our intention is to have them run through the end of the school year until mid-June, and we have additional artists who we’re just confirming now so we’ll be adding more workshops soon.”

To increase accessibility, some Zoom classes will be taught in both English and Spanish if the instructor is bilingual and all will be live translated in closed captioning in both English and Spanish. Every art workshop will also be posted online as well so others can enjoy, according to Yank.

“The driving force behind this was us thinking about some of our core values, (like) access and equity in the arts, and wanting to create programs and figure out how to reach people as best as we could in their own homes during this time,” she said. “So, hopefully, this can be a light and fun moment in the week when folks can make art and get creative and bond with each other — virtually.”

Interested residents are encouraged to visit 18thstreet.org/events-calendar for more information on the “Arts Learning Lab @ Home” series. One can also register for Wednesday’s class by heading to the website bit.ly/18arts.

brennon@smdp.com

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