COVID-19 High School Sketchbook
By Marc Fischer, Kathryn Jung, Alma Tapia, Maria Tapia, Iridian Martinez, Cindy Rendon, Mariana Vasquez, Daniel Martinez-Pedraza, and Jared Diaz
From the back cover:
This booklet is a collaboration by seven students from North-Grand High School working with Ms. Jung, a math teacher, and Marc Fischer, a teaching artist. We work together through a program initiated by Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). Our school is on the West Side of Chicago between Hermosa and West Humboldt Park. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of our instruction during the 2020-21 school year was online and remote. Our group included first year students that have never met their teachers or any of their fellow students in person, as well as a junior and graduating seniors.
We met after school twice a week on Google Meets to draw together. Normally we would be making art in a classroom or going on field trips to cultural spaces and museums. This year we hung out online, mostly drawing with our laptop cameras off until we were ready to share our work. Some days the pressure of pandemic life was too much and we were not in the mood to draw so we played games like Among Us, Scriblio, or the drawing game Gartic Phone as a way to hang out. We started the year making drawings about the COVID-19 pandemic. We made lists of disappointments and things we missed doing because of the pandemic, as well as benefits that came as a result of how our lives had changed. Then we turned to other subject matter.
A lot of us are into cooking so one day we started watching the Mexican version of the baking show Nailed It! in Spanish with English subtitles and decided to draw from that show for a couple weeks. Nailed It! celebrates the pleasure of baking enthusiastically but without skill, much as we were drawing as a way of spending time together without worrying if the drawings were technically proficient or great art. This experience caused a shift in our after-school plan and we began picking other things to watch and draw together. This booklet compiles examples of drawings that all of us made throughout the year. In addition to the students featured on the front cover in drawings of our avatars, Alma Tapia!&s work is also included in this booklet.
Some of the things we watched together: the horror films 1BR and The Doll, Moxie, the comedy Yes Day, Light Up The Sky - a documentary on the K-Pop band Blackpink, music videos by BTS, Twenty One Pilots and Devo, Crashbox, K-12 (The Film) by Melanie Martinez, the second trial of Donald Trump, the animation series Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, ASMR videos, art restoration videos, The Promised Neverland, coverage of the demonstrations after the Derek Chauvin trial verdict, the YouTuber nariomarudarkside, Midnight Gospel, Bee and Puppycat and videos showing how to make chicken curry and slime.
On June 8, 2021—our last day of meeting for the year—a group of us gathered in a park near the school to celebrate the release of this publication and to finally see each other in person.
— Marc Fischer
This publication was created through Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education (CAPE). CAPE is an organization dedicated to developing, nurturing, and sustaining authentic partnerships between teaching artists and classroom teachers. CAPE partners with Chicago Public Schools to produce art programs that happen during school classes as well as after school. Designed and printed by Marc Fischer, June 2021.
20 pages | risograph and full colour digital printing, staple bound, 8.5” x 11”