— by Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications

Part of the excitement of attending Young Artists Workshop classes is participating in the “Friends and Family Day” at the end of the session and seeing everyone’s art hanging in the studios. COVID-19 and the public health measures aimed at taming it threatened to disrupt that.

“So many art exhibits have had to be canceled or delayed, and I really wanted the students to be able to see their work in a professional setting,” said YAW instructor Tabitha Arnold. “The last day of class is the best and we all get to see our beautiful drawings. They just look so different when they’re all hung up together.” 

She came up with a solution—a virtual exhibition for her figure drawing students, the first online exhibition of its kind for the Young Artists Workshop program. Using the web-based design program called Artsteps, Arnold displayed her students’ work in a virtual walk-through gallery. The gallery is also viewable through virtual reality headsets. 

“I surprised them with it and they were really happy to see how their work looked,” she said.  “They are more impressed by their own work when they see it in that setting and they come away from it feeling really proud.” 

The online gallery provides a way for the students to show their work to family and friends. Students can use it as a portfolio piece to share with college admissions teams. Now, many other instructors have incorporated similar technology for their respective classes.