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Elyria Arts Council Teaches ‘At Home Art Projects’ Online

Elyria’s Jessica Zevotek said her three older children were “devastated” when they learned they wouldn’t be able to attend the Elyria Arts Council’s kids art drop-in program because of restrictions on gatherings due to the coronavirus.

Zevotek, a mother of four kids ranging in age from 11 to 2, said her kids really look forward to the bimonthly chance to make art .

“It doesn't go more than a day that we have the kids ask, ‘When we can finish the projects that we started?’” Zevotek said.

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Young artist participating in Elyria Arts Council's "At Home Art Project" [Elyria Arts Council] 

Anne Jesse teaches classes for the Elyria Arts Council, including the one that Zevotek’s children take. She and her colleagues were concerned that the children would miss coming to drop-in classes, so she creates videos of art projects viewers can do at home. These “At Home Art Projects” range from chalk blending with torn paper stencils to learning impressionist painting techniques. 

Jesse creates pieces of art to be used as examples for demonstration purposes in the videos. Dealing with the technical elements of making the videos themselves, she admits, hasn’t been easy.

“It was a huge challenge. I had never used a GoPro camera before. Transferring the photos and editing to my iPad to get everything posted on our Facebook page was taking me an incredibly long time, “Jesse said.

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Art work by Mary Ann Schaefer [Elyria Arts Council]

Jesse posts the videos to the Elyria Arts Council Facebook page on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. While many of the videos are crafted with children in mind, there are plenty of projects that adults will find engaging as well.

For Zevotek, viewing the videos and then doing the projects have become regular parts of her family’s week.

“We figured out a way to hook it up our living room TV, so we sat around in the evening and we'll watch it all together, and then it gives the kids something to do the next day,” Zevotek said.

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Art work by Sue Ries [Elyria Arts Council]

Jesse said the videos reach beyond those families who were already involved in their program.

“I've been hearing from folks who are not at all art-minded. They have small children at home. They want something fun and creative for them to do, so I know that there are people who have never come to ‘Art Drop-In’ who are viewing it,” she said.

Making the videos has been a comfort to Jesse during these trying times, a feeling she hopes extends to those watching them.

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Art work by Nancy Zak [Elyria Arts Council]

“It's incredibly satisfying. It sure gets your mind off of anything that you're thinking about, because you really are using your hands and your brain and you're focusing to create something. When I started making the videos, I found myself feeling very, very satisfied. I'm hoping that's what's happening with folks who are doing these projects,” Jesse said.

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