Art Beat: Empowering Art | WMUK

Art Beat: Empowering Art

Dec 17, 2020

Artist Kim Shaw's home studio
Credit Kim Shaw

For many years, Kim Shaw taught art to children at the Kazoo School. Then COVID happened.

Teaching is now very different than it was before. And, like many teachers, Shaw has explored new ways to connect with youth and adults through virtual art classes, workshops, and even parties. She’s also interested in art as therapy, and as a way to remain connected with ourselves and others.

“I’ve always been interested in art,” Shaw says. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. It was the one thing I felt empowered by, so any opportunity I had to do a creative project, I jumped in on that. As I got older, I got into painting, specifically oil painting, and that’s the type of art I love the most.”

Kim Shaw
Credit Fran Dwight

Shaw shared her art with students for many years. But during the pandemic she made the difficult decision to strike out on her own, offering virtual instruction from her own studio. She also offers art as a means for healing and for dealing with the isolation and chaos of the COVID pandemic.

“Say there are a few people working together, whether it’s online or in person, and you have materials in front of you, there’s this emotion that pulls you down, awaits you, in a good way, and helps you to feel more open,” she says. “And while you are working, you can have conversation, and maybe it’s about the work, but it might also just be about feelings you are going through. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had for that experience. I’ve been finding more and more adults are looking for that experience right now.”

Shaw has brought people of all ages together, many from across the nation and beyond. Her virtual art parties are customized for most any event, including birthdays, holiday parties, and other gatherings created around a theme. She offers lessons for individuals or groups.

Shaw says the pandemic has allowed her more time for her own art, too. She does commissioned work, including pet portraits, but is exploring new creative expressions of her own.

Listen to WMUK's Art Beat every Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.