Finding Joy in 2020

Finding Joy in 2020

by April Sullivan

Well, it is almost October and 2020 is still as surreal as it was in the Spring. Those of us at Art Spark Texas have done a great job of shifting our programs to a virtual platform. Last week we started several Veteran classes and we have more coming.

For our Meet the Masters class, we mailed art supplies and recorded video lessons for the artists to watch and learn a new technique. We then meet virtually once a week to share what we learned and show off our projects.

I don’t know about you, but I have been in a creative slump lately. With everything going on, and the uncertainty of day to day living, wrapping my brain around a creative project is hard. Our Veterans are facing the same issues. One Meet the Masters participant is a photographer who takes photos of things that make him happy – the joy around him. But he admits he is having a hard time finding joy right now.

One thing we’ve been doing is mailing out packages to people registered for our new Fall art classes. Receiving a package by mail containing all the “parts” to create an art project- with all the pre-planning done for you-is the perfect thing right now. You can watch the instructional video on YouTube, read the lesson, and just play with art materials. The inspiration comes in the box!

Here are some examples of works created in the first lesson. These are assemblages inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell.

We were also able to get some of our favorite instructors to teach virtually. Elizabeth Decker has been teaching her Create Your Story! Class for us for several years at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic. Now, she is teaching it virtually and we have expanded our participants and our partnership with the VA to include San Antonio, Houston, and Temple. Our writing instructor Clayton Bradshaw moved to Alabama over the summer and he is still able to continue teaching for us. So maybe 2020 isn’t all that bad.

We have an exciting new partnership with Amphibian Stage and are looking for participants to be included in a class called DE-CRUIT. It is open to Veterans and will take place virtually on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in October. It is a Veteran-designed, nationally recognized, trauma-informed online program, utilizing techniques from theater arts and the words of Shakespeare to support healthy and productive lives for Veterans. There is no background in Shakespeare or theater necessary.
Join us in one of these classes and find your Joy in 2020!
Details can be found at

April Sullivan, Programs Director
[email protected]

Image descriptions:
Assemblage 1 – A shallow box filled with overlapping found objects such as page from a dictionary, scrabble letter, domino, images of planes, and words such as Hope, Hello, and Groruck.

Assemblage 2 – A shallow box filled with overlapping found objects such as die, small green army man and dog in yoga poses, a paper napkin with a flamingo on it, a stamped tag, hearts, and a quote.

If you are interested in supporting our Veterans Programming, please consider making a donation here.



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