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Being an Artist in Residence with Georgetown University Hospital's Arts & Humanities Program (AHP) has been a wonderful experience, but it has been made all the more special by how my participation has changed since the pandemic.
After a brief period volunteering, in the Spring of 2018 I was brought on board as one of the (paid) artists in residence with the AHP, working at the "art table" located in the Lombardi Cancer Center waiting room. I enjoyed the days when I spent time making art with (or for) patients, their family, caregivers, and even staff. In addition to myself, there are other fine artists, movement artists, writers, and musicians -- all working to make the hospital experience less stressful, more personal, warmer (see photo of the whole gang). It has been a joy to be part of the group of creative, smart, kind people ... but I could not have envisioned how things would change with the advent of the Corona virus pandemic and the subsequent exclusion of artists from our in-person hospital setting.
Once the pandemic began keeping us out of the hospital, and keeping people in their homes, we reached out first to the community of the Lombardi Cancer Center and then to a broader audience -- and began offering a wide variety of free on-line classes. My classes (two per week with 100 people registered for each session) have become a source of community for people all over the U.S. and beyond. We make and share artwork weekly, encouraging each other in our creative pursuits, but also keeping in touch, offering solidarity and the company of kindred spirits.
I have found the people who take my classes to be kind, generous, creative and appreciative souls and I cherish the time that I spend with them each week.
If you would like to take one of my free classes, you can sign up now for the 4 sessions that I will be offering in June 2022. Future blog posts will highlight some of the great artwork produced by students.