With a new year ahead, setting new goals and resolutions is common. Some people choose to learn something new throughout the year; these goals range from learning a new language to learning a new art form. Physical distancing from family and friends due to the COVID-19 pandemic has altered many of these regular cultural traditions over the last year. However, setting goals is one that may not need to change too much. When setting goals for the new year, maybe consider including one about art, for creativity has been commonly credited as a form of relief from stressors, anxiety, and more. Check out these three articles from Arts Help writers to learn more about the connections of mental wellbeing and art:

The necessity of social distancing has meant the use of online gathering platforms has skyrocketed. This year’s goals will all have to consider the online format, even art. The availability of online art classes has given people the opportunity to learn from artists from all over the world and meet other students. Individuals and organizations are hosting unique art classes that will teach artistic techniques, art history, and help people connect.

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Not sure where to start? Local museums may be just the place. Art museums are always a great place for resources to learn about art and how to become an artist. For instance, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts in Reading, Pennsylvania is a small art organization/museum that offers both in-person and online classes. The class instructors tend to be local artists who have extensive experience in their specific niche. One online class at GoggleWorks is called “Happy Little Tree”. It is a flexible class that uses any color media (watercolors, pencils, paints, etc.) to explore how mood and color intersect with personal artwork. The class is taught by Zoungy Kligge, who has been a visual arts instructor for over 20 years. Online art classes can offer a much-needed break from the burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic and in this case, and also allows space for participants to explore their emotions through art.

In addition to local museums, larger organizations like the Museum of Modern Art or MoMA in New York City, also offer online art classes. The various courses can range from learning a new art technique to participating in a lecture series about art history. Attending an online lecture series may seem uninteresting to some; however, these classes are extremely informative and have the potential to inspire those who participate. For instance, one class MoMA offers called “What is Contemporary Art?” discusses over 70 different pieces of art created from 1980 to the present day; the sheer amount of content covered can offer inspiration. With social distancing and many new obstacles, finding inspiration and the drive to learn can be challenging. Taking time to safely explore new ideas, areas of the world, and cultures through art, can help reignite a person’s curiosity, inspiration, and desire to create.

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If there is a preference for a more personal class experience, plenty of famous artists offer online classes or seminars. Taking online art classes from individual artists is another great way to support artists’ small businesses. Moreover, classes offered by individuals tend to be more personal. Students may get more one on one time with the instructor so they can get as much out of the learning experience as possible. Another positive is the class may be smaller, and encourage connection with fellow creators.

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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many individuals into situations of physical isolation or limited their social circles and interactions, no one is ever truly alone. Art can offer mental relief from creating, but it can also offer a connection. Online art classes are a great place to find a community where one can both find and give inspiration, comfort, and joy.

Check out Arts Helps' Artist Education series coming Spring 2021!

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