Taking an art class in the midst of a pandemic


Melissa Joseph

A illustration showing the frustrations and difficulties of doing an art class from home

I stood in Home Depot, staring at the different dimensions of plexiglass, wondering what my professor was imagining when she told us we needed a surface for rolling ink. 

This was my first time printmaking and I was going into the class blind and alone.

I tried to imagine the classroom I caught a glimpse of for one in-class period. It was foreign and bizarre. 

We couldn’t touch the same piece of paper without gloves. We couldn’t share supplies without sanitizing each tool after each use. We couldn’t simply pass by one another, while using the 200 pound ink rollers for printmaking.

The new procedures and precautions of an in-person class completely stripped the atmosphere of a pre-pandemic art class. 

Little did I know, the cold reality of an in-person class would be taken away only days later. 

When I saw the email from President Gayle Hutchinson, I was initially heartbroken. I thought of my small apartment with insufficient space and poor lighting. How could I make art there? I couldn’t fathom it working. 

As uncomfortable as the in-class setting was, anything seemed better than trying to create art, cramped on the floor at home, with no table big enough to fit my supplies and paper. 

Moments after the devastating news, my painting and printmaking professors emailed me. Their emails were filled with solemn optimism, detailing the changes to come.

We needed new materials meaning more money, more investment. The schedules were completely altered, meaning more change, more unknown.

Nothing was the same.

A new list of supplies, ideas of where to put an at home art studio and so many more concerns swarmed my mind. 

Still struggling to understand how I would imitate a 200 pound roller at home, I realized something terrifying. It was out of my control.

All I could do was accept this new reality and find whatever silver lining I could muster. 

Soon my miniscule struggle to create art from home seemed trivial, while the rest of the world struggled to find solace as well.

I’ve now come to terms with the reality of working from home. I have a small portion in my house dedicated to art and am slowly acclimating to drawing on the floor. 

Although not ideal, I’ve found ways to make the most of our new way of life and learning. 

Melissa Joseph can be reached at [email protected] or @melisstweetz on Twitter.