Virtual Vision Kids Classes Keep Access to the Arts Alive

Jan. 4, 2021
| by:
Communications and Public Affairs

Need new ideas to keep the kids engaged and creative? Free virtual art classes crafted by Chandler’s Vision Gallery are here to help.

Like nearly all other programs in the City, Chandler’s Vision Kids art classes have worked to successfully adapt to the pandemic and the challenges of teaching art virtually. Thanks to the dedication of Chandler’s visual arts staff, the arts classes now have expanded class sizes and are continuing to improve accessibility and access for all children in Chandler.

What is Vision Kids?

Vision Kids is a series of art classes taught by professional artists for kids ages six to sixteen, offered free of charge. Students come from all areas of the Valley and represent a wide array of diverse backgrounds. The program aims to bring art to all kids who have an interest without incurring costs for supplies or activity fees. 

How has Vision Kids Adapted to COVID-19?

Thanks to the creative thinking and foresight of the Vision Gallery staff and teachers, the program has seen successes in the number of kids they can accommodate, as well as in the diversity of the instructors and activities planned for each session. 

Peter Bugg, Chandler’s Visual Arts Coordinator, said transitioning to a virtual class format has opened up new possibilities for kids to access classes. 

“Unlike when we were teaching these classes in a physical space, our virtual classes are not so limited by class size,” Bugg said. “We have been able to expand our access to 35 kids per session, which I am sure the parents appreciate when there are not as many opportunities out there for creative kids.”

New Instructors and City Ties

As Zoom classes progress, the Vision Gallery has worked with some of the same Vision Kids instructors they have featured in past classes, but virtual learning has also expanded the possibilities for bringing on new teachers. 

“We are always trying to find new teachers with ties to Arizona and Chandler,” Bugg said. “Some of these artists we would like to work with do have local ties, but they live in other places now. This new virtual format has made it possible for us to bring them on and give students access to new teachers and artists.”

Aside from having local ties, instructors chosen for Vision Kids classes are also artists with exhibits on display in the Vision Gallery or the Gallery at the Chandler Center for the Arts, further deepening the ties between class participants and arts in their community. 

The two classes in January will be led by Jerome Fleming, whose work will be featured in the Vision Gallery beginning Jan. 9, and Edith Castro, whose exhibit will be featured at the Gallery at the Chandler Center for the Arts beginning Jan 8. 

Finding new artists to feature in the galleries and host Vision Kids classes is top-of-mind as Vision Gallery staff enter the new year.

“We are making an effort to find and highlight more artists of color,” Bugg said. “We are looking to feature artists who accurately represent the diversity of Chandler, and we are excited for more exhibits and classes ahead that tie in the broader cultural facets of our community.”

Accessibility and Access

As Chandler families are all too aware, the pandemic is challenging for children as well as parents. To ease the burden on caretakers, the virtual Vision Kids classes don’t require a parent to be present while the children participate — something which was necessary when the classes were in person. 

While the classes remain free, access to the tools needed for the class has been an issue for children who may not have art supplies at home. To combat this, the team puts together both full and partial supply packets for students based on need. Packets are available for pick up at Vision Gallery beginning the Saturday before class, free of charge.

“Beyond supplies, making these classes accessible for students without advanced access to technology is something we care deeply about,” Bugg said. “We want these classes to be available to any child who wants to participate. If you or your child wants to join and you aren’t sure how you will access the class, contact us and we will work with you on a solution.”

Bugg said some options for students without webcam or internet technology are to call in or to connect with other available resources for accessing the internet. Email the Vision Gallery for help with accessing class if you have questions or concerns. 

For Spanish-speaking students, the first all-Spanish Vision Kids class will take place on January 30. 

Spring Class Sign-Up Begins Jan. 9

Registration will open for our spring classes on Saturday, January 9 at 10 a.m. All spring and summer classes will take place virtually on Zoom. The following are a few reminders for parents and students planning to register for spring and summer classes:

  • Classes are held on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. via Zoom.
  • There is a limit of 35 students per class.
  • There is a 3-class limit per child; if you would like to take more classes, please email the Vision Gallery to be added to our Anytime Waitlist to fill classes last-minute.
  • When registering, you'll be asked if you would like to supply all your own materials for the class, pick up some materials supplied by Vision Gallery or if you need assistance with all of the supplies. The number of partial or complete kits available varies by class, please be sure to read the event page for the full supplies necessary before selecting your ticket option.
  • Free supply kits for those who reserve them will be available for pick-up at Vision Gallery during our business hours beginning the Saturday before the class.