The past few months have posed unprecedented disruptions to both regular and specialty academic programming. Yeshivat Frisch’s Visual Arts Program, along the yeshiva’s other specialty tracks as well as so many other programs in our community, has risen to the challenge. This year, Frisch’s art students are distancing in the art room and have their own supplies to work with. “Art adapts,” proclaimed the Frisch Art Instagram page proudly last week. “Nothing can stop us learning!”
“This year we plan to have a productive and inspiring year,” said Ahuva Winslow, Frisch Visual Arts program director. “Each child has received their own portfolio filled with supplies for their upcoming projects. They are able to work from home or in school with their own supplies in the art room, which has been laid out in a new structure to allow more room and social distance between students. The kids have begun classes already with enthusiasm in school and on Zoom! As we saw last year in art, their productivity soared, their art matured, blossomed and flourished in such promising ways, that I know this year will be a fantastic one.”
This positive attitude featured throughout the summer too, during which 10 students from Frisch’s art program volunteered to give weekly, individualized art lessons to children over Zoom. The opportunity was first opened to the children of Frisch faculty, and then to the public.
“Our daughters loved their time with Abby each week and looked forward to their weekly session with much anticipation,” said Frisch faculty member Rabbi Joshua Schulman, whose children received lessons from Frisch senior Abby Lopchinsky. “They took the skills highlighted during each session and applied them in their own work throughout the duration of the week. Most of all, they enjoyed the experience of having an older “big sister” figure to look up to and to learn from.”
Frisch juniors Ellie Cukor and Yaffa Lofstock taught the children of Frisch faculty member Michal Levin. “This has been an extremely meaningful experience for us,” they wrote. “When everything was cancelled because of the pandemic, this served as something really fun to look forward to each week. We spent a lot of time searching for the best projects and activities, and even that was fun—trying to imagine what would excite the eager kids. We had the children of one of our favorite teachers from this past year, so we were very happy and excited to spend the summer doing art with them.”
Since Levin’s children are very young, Cukor and Lofstock couldn’t teach them advanced art techniques, so focused on arts and crafts related projects. “The weekly Zoom sessions always lasted longer than expected because we were caught up in the fun,” said Cukor and Lofstock.
Levin too loved the experience for her children. “First of all, I would like to thank Ahuva Winslow for making this whole magical experience happen and of course thank Ellie and Yaffa, whose dedication, creativity, and unique way with kids were truly felt every time,” she said. “It was so wonderful having Ellie and Yaffa do artwork with my kids on a weekly basis during the summer through Zoom. From the first day, my kids felt very comfortable during the lessons and couldn’t wait till the next lesson with them. The highest point was when they surprised us by coming over to our backyard to do some socially distanced artwork together on their last day. My kids keep on mentioning the great experience they had over the summer and can’t wait to meet with Yaffa and Ellie again one day when COVID is over.”