Creating art to help get through

From Megan Williamson ’82

It is a new world we are in, and we are in it together. What can we do to help one another get through these heavy days? I was moved and inspired by the Italian balcony serenades. I don’t know any arias, but I have been working on a series of five-foot circus banner paintings and decided to hang them in front of our house. I change them out every few days.

I have also recently finished a commission for Rush University Hospital’s pediatric oncology infusion waiting room. This hospital has taken such good care of my family that I was thrilled to be able, as an artist, to give something back. I want the work to help the waiting children and their parents imagine themselves somewhere else–in a beautiful, inviting, and happy place.

To go along with the painting I did five ink drawings of the dogs in the painting. Once the painting is installed, we hope to have copies of them on hand in the waiting room for children to color and take home.

For regular updates on these projects and images from the studio, find me on Instagram @mwmson773. That, friends, is my update. I continue to work in the studio, and I look forward to announcing more news, exhibitions, and events. Be well.

Remote education

From Kate Hutton ’16

I am a paraprofessional at Kirksville Primary School. When the school closed, the staff created packets of work and resources for our kids. The special education team delivered these packets to our students’ houses, so they did not have to leave to pick them up. We are now all assisting our kids remotely, through phone calls, video chats, and recording videos.

Transitioning to online learning

From Sue Doe, Professor of English, Colorado State University, ’75

I direct the writing program at Colorado State University. We have managed a successful transition to totally online delivery of our courses and all administrative functions. For me, this has meant that the 65 instructors and 35 graduate teaching assistants I oversee needed to move their writing courses online in the space of less than a week–and that week happened to be spring break. They DID it and thus far things are running pretty smoothly. I’m especially happy to report that we are showing individualized awareness of the 5,000 students who are taking our writing classes this semester.

A significant percentage of them left campus and went home to places that do not have Internet access, much less an individual laptop for every student. We are getting our lesson plans, assignments, etc. to them the old-fashioned way–through the U.S. Postal Service–and are running classes for those students more like a correspondence course. We also have teachers conducting teacher-student conferences on ZOOM, Microsoft Teams, and by phone. One graduate teaching assistant conducted 30 individuals conferences by phone on Wednesday, our first day online. Other faculty are creating videos of their lectures and incorporating lots of meaningful activities. They are showing great ingenuity, resourcefulness, and flexibility.

So this is a shout out to all the K-12 and college teachers who are doing this kind of thing. In this moment I hope we are developing a new appreciation for teaching and teachers, just as we are realizing the amazing sacrifice of our doctors and nurses, as well as the crucial importance of facts and science to understanding pandemic. In a day when science and knowledge itself have been much under attack, I feel renewed hope that as a culture we are seeing how important knowledge is and how important the teachers are who make the construction of knowledge possible.