With my exhibition around the corner, I believe it’s time to give an update on my residency so far. A recap if you will. Major projects have been completed. Lessons have been learned. So, it’s time to hit pause and reflect.

It won’t come as a surprise when I say nothing has gone as I anticipated. When Spokane Art School presented me with this remarkable opportunity, I envisioned long studio hours alone, thrilled to finally have the space to make art. Then, of course COVID hit. Everything shut down. Everyone quarantined. And in a blink of an eye, the world changed. Right before I was supposed to teach my first class, it was cancelled. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to move back home. Simple tasks, such as a trip to the grocery store only induced anxiety. And just like that, my community disappeared—only to be replaced by the basement of my parents.

Yet, as we already know, you make the best with what you’ve got. And fortunately for me, what I’ve got is one remarkable family. So, I rolled with it. And slowly, I discovered my art community never disappeared. It simply pivoted. Now, it’s filled with very short and eager assistances. Two “know- it-alls” (one who truly does know it all, and one who thinks she knows it all*). Plus, many outspoken, opinionated, yet incredibly invested voices.

I first began to recognize the value of this new community when I started making online kids art videos. Thanks to the wonderful support of Spokane Art School, as well as the sponsorship of Washington Trust Bank, these videos became a full-on production in our household. It magically transformed our boring living room into a space of creativity, fun and sharing. My family may not know a whole lot about YouTube, yet there they were, by my side, helping me make the project a reality.

As I have continued to work with them, I have come to fully recognize their value as a community, particularly in regard to my individual practice. This is where they really shine. First off, my niece and nephews are always there to assist (whether I want it or not). Even when I try to hide, they have this uncanny ability to find me. Yet, over the course of time, they’ve actually become pretty great little assistants. For example, when I was making my quilt, Hudson and Luke would “test” the warmth factor by crawling under it while I worked. They also like to get thread “ready” for me. One day, this resulted in our deck being completely COVERED in the stuff. My favorite moment, however, is when Kinsley provides me “feedback” on my art. During our critiques, she always starts off by saying this: “BUT what do YOU like Auntie?” Then, in the instances I do tell her, she’ll immediately share with me that’s the one she likes too. It’s a great confidence booster. Plus, in times you are feeling unsure about something, it’s always welcomed to hear.

So, I guess my point is you make your community. And you make the most of it.
For me, this has meant my family. There’s been plenty of highs and lows, yet when you’re surrounded by the people you love, you realize their love can take you anywhere.

*It should be noted, there’s a possibility one of those “know-it-alls” is me and the other is my mother, yet I’ll fail to specify which for the sake of my pride.

All photos by Hannah Pomante

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog belong solely to the Spokane Art School Artist-in-Residence, and not necessarily to the Spokane Art School.