Quincy News

Arts community steps up to help in a difficult time

Arts Quincy Executive Director Laura Sievert leads a Facebook live event to draw the weather with sidewalk chalk and pastels on Wednesday, Mar. 25, 2020. Sievert felt that creating an entertaining and education virtual learning experience for youngsters would be beneficial while schools are shut down. In addition, the Quincy Arts Center has been posting at home art and craft projects on their Facebook and Instagram. | H-W Photo/Jake Shane
Jake Shane1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Mar. 26, 2020 12:01 am

QUINCY — Laura Sievert said the idea came to her a few days ago.

A mother of two young boys, Sievert thought creating a virtual type of learning experience for youngsters — one that includes an element of entertainment — would prove beneficial, especially in a time when schools are shut down due to concerns surrounding the pandemic tied to COVID-19.

The more Sievert thought about it, the more she was confident it would work on a larger scale.

So she posted her concept on Facebook, and the reaction was overwhelming.

"I had more than 150 responses in the first two hours," said Sievert, whose day job is serving as executive director of Arts Quincy.

That kind of feedback led to Wednesday's first Facebook live event. "Draw the Weather" was the theme on Arts Quincy's Facebook site.

The second episode will be Wednesday, April 1, with "Build Your Own Weather Studio" as the subject. That will be followed by "Spring in Bloom: Cupcake Flowers" on Friday, April 3.

Starting time for these sessions is about 10 a.m.

Sievert said this is a simple way her organization and others can help the community, especially those with young children cooped up at home during what is a demanding time for families.

The Facebook live "episodes" are tied to integrating art into real-life experiences and learning matter.

"They'll only be 15 to 30 minutes," Sievert said. "I'm not a supermom or anything like that. I'm like a lot of people right now, trying to work at home and parent at the same time.

"This is easy-peasy, and not a lot of work. The arts community is working to try and help keep people engaged."

Sievert sees projects like this as a way to say "thanks."

"Every nonprofit organization knows how amazing Quincy and its generosity are," she said.

In addition, the Quincy Art Center is currently providing daily at-home art lessons through Facebook and Instagram.

"The art lessons involve items people often have on hand in their homes, so they are not needing to run out to the store to pick up supplies," said Elizabeth Swick, director of marketing for the Quincy Art Center. "With these lessons and projects, the Art Center is hoping to spark imagination and creativity throughout the community. Art is very versatile."

Kelsey Deters, development coordinator at the Art Center, said this is a genuine sign of the community working as one in a trying time.

"We're all in this together," she said. "People seem really excited about this, there's been a lot of engagement."

Swick said art can be a valuable tool and serve as part of a soothing process.

"Art can be used as a distraction from the world, or it can be used as a tool for processing feelings and emotions," she said.

All projects are accompanied by photos and a video explaining step-by-step how people of all ages can create at home. Although the Art Center's galleries are closed, it is also providing insight into some of the pieces on display in the current exhibit "100 Faces of War," organized through Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services in collaboration with artist Matt Mitchell.

"Like many of the organizations and businesses in town, it was a tough decision to close our doors," Swick said. "Thankfully, we are able to let people in through social media. We are looking forward to opening our galleries again to let the community view this exhibit we worked so hard to bring to the area."

For more information about projects that can be done at home, upcoming art classes, and art exhibits, go to quincyartcenter.org.