How one artist is finding creative ways to spread the joy of art and learning while at home

From income inequality and unemployment to poverty, education and health care, communities in Northern Kentucky region are facing critical challenges, but challenges that can produce creative ideas.

Artists can illuminate these ideas, offering transcendent experiences in a far too literal world, opening up opportunities for us to feel, and connect us to our common humanity.

Chad Turner is one of those artists.

While our regional art institutions may be closed, artists like Turner are getting creative in finding ways to continue arts programming from home.

Turner, an established artist, is providing art instruction to children and adults from his home studio in Covington, and he's now hosting daily Facebook Live art sessions and weekly online art instruction through his own design company and as an instructor at Baker Hunt Art Academy.

Turner is an artist, illustrator, and educator taking to Facebook and Google MeetUp to offer live, virtual alternatives to in-person art classes. Turner is no stranger to teaching — he is in the process of founding Creative House of Art and Design, a resource for teaching budding artists of all ages the basics of becoming an artist.

“I teach the classes from home,” Turner says. “I have set up cameras and have dived into online learning. I had to teach myself how to use all the applications but I needed to adapt to the situation.”

Via his online training, Turner prompts audiences to follow along with him while he draws, giving out pointed instruction to his pupils as he goes.

“With everything changing and schools shutting down, I was hit hard," he says. "So instead of giving up and wondering what to do, I decided to set out to change and adapt. Now I am teaching kids all over the United States,” Turner says.

In the near future, Turner will be launching his own creative venture, the Creative House of Art and Design; offering classes through that portal while still offering classes virtually through Baker Hunt’s online platform.

In addition, Turner provides story time with his students every Tuesday and has plans of recording a YouTube video to share his published children's books.

Though the future of many arts-based programs remains uncertain, the virtual arts community thrives and Turner calls for folks to to see this time as an opportunity to grow.

“I would say take advantage of this time," Turner says. “Do all those projects you never had time for. Stay active. Play games. Do what makes you smile. I have been very creative and have been making a lot of art to sell when I can.”

Continued COVID-19 coverage has been supported by a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project, a program run in partnership with the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and Local Media Association.
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Read more articles by Kareem A. Simpson.

Raised in the inner city of Covington, Kentucky, Kareem Simpson is an author, innovator, community enthusiast, military veteran, serial entrepreneur, foodie and lover of all things creative.