Today, in the final week of school, I asked the students in my Colorado Academy Upper School architecture class if they are excited for school to be ending. I was quite surprised by the mix of emotions I saw on the screen. One of them unmuted, paused for a moment, and then said, “I want to be excited, because that is what I’m supposed to feel, but I don’t know what to expect. I’m afraid of being bored.”

During the Summer months as a child, I remember the words “I’m bored” coming out of my mouth at times. My mom had a casual reply always at the ready, “Boring people get bored. Go make something or go outside.” I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that my two lifelong passions are making art and being outdoors. It is what we choose to do after feeling short or long periods of boredom that becomes habitual in our lives. I have spoken before about how impactful having less can be on the creative process. Creativity thrives when we have less to work with and lots of time to do it.

If you are a parent, I imagine you’ve heard the infamous words come out of one or all of your children’s mouths. You’ve probably felt it yourself these past two months. What can you do to inspire your kids to make things and get outside, rather than default to a device? As a parent, when this feels like a challenge, I think of my mom again. Her words about boredom were somewhat flip, but when I think of what she was doing at the time, she was always making something herself, or was in her garden. I learned to love art at a very young age, because I watched my mom enjoy doing it herself. She was in her element, joyful and challenged. I took a parenting class when my daughter was a toddler. My instructor said that kids learn from watching us. When our kids see us enjoying projects, activities, and even work, they learn to enjoy it all, too.

Suggestions for online art classes

Here are some of our favorite online art classes in the Visual Arts Department. These are for high schoolers and adults, but I could see any child enjoying the activity by your side. We think you might enjoy them, and perhaps the enjoyment will spread. Yes, we are here for your kids, but we want to support you as well. Don’t hesitate to reach out when you need help.

The Art Assignment is a free video series that introduces you to innovative artists, presents you with assignments (which is always good), and explores art history through the lens of the present.

Skillshare is offering two months for free. You can access classes in Animation, Creative Writing, Film, Fine Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Music, Photography, and Web Design.

Support our local art scene

The Art Students League of Denver is offering online courses for adults, teens, and kids. Local art professionals teach their craft.

The RedLine Contemporary Art Gallery is located in Denver and has started #RedLineAtHome. Access the latest all-ages content for online activities and programs developed by their education team.

Follow Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art on Instagram @mca_denver for artist talks, live streams, general lightheartedness, and more. Cool art is always inspiring!

The Denver Art Museum has a page devoted to creative resources.