The pandemic of 2020 has been one great big teacher. We all started out thinking it would be just another year, with a little forward progress, but months and months later, we have all acquired new skills.
Art House 473 is one of those small businesses that was shuttered — no people allowed to come or go, no exhibitions, no classes, no workshops and of course, no income to pay the mortgage. Further, no grants were made available. Thankfully, as we learn, we find new ways to accomplish our goals of making art available to our community and beyond. In saunters Zoom, with attitude, with solutions, with ease of use, and with worldwide reach.
Dr Susan Mains, a well-established artist and educator, answered the call from IFLE, (Integrate French as Language of Exchanges) to teach a class for painting online. Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IFLE team had to rethink the operationalisation of its activities and was looking for organisations and facilitators to conduct online training for Caribbean creatives who had been identified by the project. IFLE had visited Grenada through the Alliance Française in 2019, and made a very appealing video of Art House 473. That short visit made the connection. So, with Wendy Dyemma in Trinidad, and Boris Djeki in St Lucia as the technical facilitator, painting class commenced. Students involved painted from Trinidad, Nevis, and Jamaica.
Having had a great experience with the first initiative, an Art School Greenz class offered its first-time Zoom class, again with Mains as the teacher. This time students came from Grenada and Canada. Many expressed great satisfaction with the mode of learning, from beginners to more seasoned artists. One of the added benefits of the classes is that the students get to know artists and their works from different Caribbean islands, thus bridging the waters. A hashtag for Instagram was encouraged, for the students to seek out artist work from other Caribbean islands and tag them, either #iflepainting or #olcpainting. This then starts to form a presence of Caribbean painters.
The one great skill of creatives is to think creatively — to find solutions for apparent roadblocks.
As we grow from this pandemic experience, we continue to stretch, to rethink, to learn. We want others to step in and grow with us. You are welcome.
You can find examples of the students’ work here.and
Art School 473