Professional Practice

How to Harness the Power of Art During Uncertain Times

Cards with encouraging messages

Art Education and the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Over the last several weeks, you’ve probably experienced a range of emotions. You might not be able to pinpoint those feelings, but you just don’t feel like yourself. We’ve been forced to transition into a new way of teaching, and it just isn’t the same. We miss our students, we’re trying to balance our work and personal lives, and we long for the normalcy we once had. Even though we might be having indescribable feelings, now’s the time to channel those emotions into artmaking. We know art is powerful, and this is the perfect opportunity to show our students how impactful art can be. Even in this uncertain time, we can lean on the power of art to get us through.

Here are 6 ways you can share the power of art with your family, students, and community.

1. Outdoor Chalk Art

Spring is arriving. With the greening of the grass and blooming of trees and flowers, you’ve probably noticed a few more people outside. Whether you, your family, or students need an outdoor activity, try taking your art outside to create some chalk art. Were you planning a drawing activity for your students? Take it outside on the concrete instead. There’s even a 500-year history of sidewalk drawings, so now seems like the perfect time for a quick history lesson.

sidewalk chalk

Whether you are creating on the sidewalk of a nearby park or by your home, your creations will have a lasting impact. You might never know who comes by and smiles as a result of your positive message or colorful design, but know that it can be a mood booster.

2. Leave Surprise Art

surprise art

Now, more than ever, your community needs you, so let’s make art to brighten someone’s day. All you or your students need to do is create some mini artwork. You might choose to add a nice little message on the back or create an artwork that shows positivity and kindness. When the artwork is complete, put it in a baggie and find a place to leave it. You might leave it on the doorsteps of neighbors or tape them up with a message that says “Take Me” on a nearby walking path.

3. Create Cards for Nursing Homes

Due to COVID-19, nursing homes and assisted living facilities have been under lockdown for quite some time. If you’ve ever had an elderly relative or friend, you know they cherish their weekly visits and conversations, and those aren’t happening now. Instead, consider creating an art lesson where students can send handmade cards to a local nursing home. Even though this doesn’t take the place of human interaction, it’s a nice way to show even strangers are thinking about them.

4. Showcase Art in Your Window

Art helps us feel connected. Even when communities are practicing social distancing, we want to feel connected. One way we can do this is by hanging art in our windows. This was a movement that started in Italy with a simple rainbow.  The image of the rainbow serves as a powerful image to show brighter things will come, and it connects us. Next time you go on a walk, notice the windows around you. Do you see the artwork? It can become a scavenger hunt for your family and your students. And, it will encourage you to change the art in your windows for your community to see.

5. Send Art to Your Students

Unfortunately, this school year came to an abrupt halt. We weren’t ready to leave our classrooms or students. We didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye. Your art room is probably even filled with half-finished artwork or pieces to return to your students. We weren’t prepared for this, and at-home learning isn’t the same. You’ve probably thought about the graduating class of students or your homeroom class who you might not ever see again. You want to show them you care and are thinking of them, but how?

Cards with encouraging messages

Create a piece of art and mail it to your students! Now, this might seem like a lot of pieces of art. Consider narrowing it down to your homeroom class or the oldest grade in your building, which will be moving on next school year. This school year will probably be memorable for a variety of reasons, but taking the time to create an item for your students will be something they cherish.

Need more information? Learn more here!

6. Join a Virtual Art Project

The online community has been incredible during this time. Countless ideas have been shared through social media, and it allows us to feel connected. One other way we can feel connected through artmaking is by joining a virtual art project. There are several organizations, art galleries, and educators who are hosting online global community art projects. Let’s show the world and our students just how powerful art can be by joining a project. Here are just a few projects you or your students can participate in:

When we are navigating unchartered waters, art can carry us through! During these uncertain times, we can do our part by sharing the gift of art with our students and others. If you’re struggling to find some positivity, consider trying one of the things above or sharing the ideas with your students.

How are you using the power of art during these uncertain times?
How are you connecting with your community through art?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Abby Schukei

Abby Schukei, a middle school art educator and AOEU’s Social Media Manager, is a former AOEU Writer. She focuses on creating meaningful experiences for her students through technology integration, innovation, and creativity.

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