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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”