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Looking For A Way To Engage Your Creativity? Free Online Art Classes Offer A Way

A student works on drawing as part of Deborah Putnoi's the Drawing Lab. (Courtesy Deborah Putnoi)
A student works on drawing as part of Deborah Putnoi's the Drawing Lab. (Courtesy Deborah Putnoi)

While we quarantine ourselves in our homes, the need to distract ourselves from all that’s happening outside of the house grows greater and greater each day. So let’s go back to the basics, shall we? A piece of paper and a pencil are all you need to let your imagination roam free.

Now, if you don’t know where to start, Newton-based artist Deb Putnoi says that’s ok because drawing is supposed to be accessible for everybody. She started a Facebook Live class on March 16 for ages 3 to 100 years old. These classes are great for the family. “You don’t need a fancy backdrop, so people can do it from home,” she says.

She noticed how anxious people are getting from being locked up in their homes, so drawing is a great way to access a sense of calm. Putnoi grew up in the Greater Boston area and received degrees from Tufts University and Harvard University. She’s been teaching art classes for decades, and in this time of uncertainty, she decided to turn to Facebook Live to do her part in helping folks get their creative juices flowing. And now you can tune in weekdays at 2 p.m. to participate. “Kids especially are really thirsty for this. They’re home and could connect with this.”

Putnoi is the author of the book "The Drawing Mind" and she talks about how healing drawing can be for people. “Making marks on a surface is a truly democratic activity, something that everyone regardless of age, culture, socio-economic status can take part in,” she wrote.

Another good post-lunchtime video art class to look forward to is one The Kennedy Center holds on YouTube with children’s writer and animator Mo Willems. Since March 16, Willems has sat in his studio every day at 1 p.m. EST teaching viewers how to draw.

“You might be isolated, but you’re not alone,” the YouTube video description reads. Willems is The Kennedy Center’s first Education Artist in Residence, which means Willems helps develop multidisciplinary programming and performances for the organization.

For his lessons, all you need is paper and pen or pencils, proving you don’t need fancy art equipment and supplies to join in on the fun. Accessibility is key here and creativity knows no bounds once you get started.

Christian Burno Arts Fellow
Christian Burno is the arts reporting fellow for The ARTery, WBUR’s arts and culture team.

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