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Student Perspective – Virtual Marathons: Sam Kelly
January 12, 2021 · Marathons
The Summer 2020 Virtual Drawing Marathon with Graham Nickson & Guests was a wonderful experience. I am very thankful to the New York Studio School for offering this program during these difficult times. Fran O’Neil, Charity Baker, Sam Levy and Graham Nickson did a fantastic job running the program and it was an experience that I will never forget.
For many years I have hoped to participate in an NYSS Drawing Marathon. I was excited to visit New York and to check out the studios and classrooms of the New York Studio School and it was not until this year that I was finally able to do so. Due to COVID, the Program switched to a virtual format and I am pleased to say that the virtual program was excellent, and I gained a lot of knowledge and insight. Graham Nickson brought the energy, intensity and creativity of the School and Marathon Program through the computer screen. For two weeks I drew from the models, interacted with other serious artists, and discussed art with Graham on Zoom. He humbly drew alongside us, showed us some of his own work and discussed exhibitions that he participated in. Amazingly, I was transposed to a virtual world that ran parallel to the physical environment found at the NYSS.
At the start of the Marathon I transformed my office into a studio, set up the computer, and was ready to work. On the first day, Fran O’Neil discussed logistical aspects to the Zoom program so that we all clearly understood how to operate and communicate. This was a big help in alleviating any concerns or fears of the virtual experience. She and Charity Baker did a wonderful and professional job setting up the poses, planning critiques and answering questions. I am not the most tech savvy person but through Fran and Charity’s help I was able to draw and learn through the virtual experience quite easily.
When the program ended, I was sad that it was over. The teachers and fellow students bonded during this time when isolation is now an everyday experience. Since the completion of the Marathon I have returned to my regular studio with a tremendous amount of zeal. The Marathon rejuvenated my commitment and has been a great help in seeing things with new eyes. I can say with confidence that I plan to enroll in another Drawing Marathon in the future, whether it is virtual or in person.
Thank you, New York Studio School, for such a wonderful time!