How do I teach studio art classes through Zoom? How am I supposed to learn when I don’t have access to the supplies, facilities and equipment that I need? Among countless other uncertainties, the search for answers to these questions were paramount to those within fine arts programs throughout the country following the almost complete closure of in-person education. Most schools finished their interrupted semester after shifting to online distance learning, forcing educators such as Alyssa Reiser Prince to quickly figure out how to teach students via the mediated pixelated images and distorted audio that characterizes the experience of Zoom, Google Classroom, and other videotelephony software. Meanwhile, student artists such as those included in MAKING A WAY | INTERRUPTION, (Jessica Dehen, Marley Foster, Hannah Nielsen, Claire Whitehurst) had to cope with the sudden loss of access to studio space, equipment and face-to-face interaction. Graduating students were also confronted with the demoralizing letdown of having their culminating exhibitions canceled. As of the release of this episode on June 29, many schools are still formulating the details of their re-opening plans for the fall. Much will depend on how the summer proceeds. Confirmed new cases of COVID-19 infections have begun rising sharply in many states following the relaxation of social distancing restrictions, proving that next year’s experience for students and educators alike will be different from any other time in history.
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