Governor Baker's Advisory update



Recognizing that this may (likely) escalate to a mandatory order, we are now going to have to make further adjustments to our online class plan.

WE HAVE ANTICIPATED THIS POSSIBILITY, and have a PLAN-B that will still allow us to offer Zoom classes. However it means we must acquire additional tech hardware so our teachers won’t have to travel to the studio. As such we are going to delay one additional week, and begin on Monday, March 30. Unless additional restrictions on internet usage are imposed, I feel confident that this will allow us to provide classes without further delay.

I am so sorry that this happened today. I just finished preparing a message to send you about beginning our online classes this afternoon! We were that close.

If we have to adjust the length of our trimester to reflect a reduced number of classes we will provide either credits for future use, or refunds for the omitted classes.

You can
see our new weekly schedule for the online classes on our web site. Some classes have been combined due to low enrollment. If you are affected by this we will be contacting you to confirm what class you would like to attend.

Since the stay-at-home order begins tomorrow (Tues, March 24) we still have one last chance to get supplies to foundation* class students. Unfortunately we must cancel the art supply pick-up for this afternoon. Rain and snow are forecast at the time of the pickup. We cannot provide an outdoor isolated space to avoid close contact without the supplies getting wet. We are rescheduling the supply pickup to tomorrow, Tuesday, 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM. I expect that this will be the last opportunity to pick up supplies from the studio. We will update everyone in non-foundation classes shortly as we are still determining the needed supplies.

I will update you again as soon as possible. I know many of you are anxiously anticipating getting these classes. We are working overtime presently to ensure that they are as good as possible and that we can maintain that level of quality. If you have a chance to prepare for using Zoom meetings you can run a test by visiting This will help you identify and fix any problems before you join our first class.

*foundation classes are Beginners, BasicA, BasicB, IntermediateA1 & A2, and Teen Drawing

How we're dealing with the Covid19 Coronavirus


This has been updated following Gov. Baker's advisory issued this morning.

Hello from ActonArt:

Welcome to Spring trimester at ActonArt! We want to thank you for sticking with us as this
unprecedented situation continues to unfold. We realize how difficult this is for children and families, and hope we can help you keep your children engaged and developing through art and creativity.

Our plans for presenting Spring classes at ActonArt have been evolving rapidly over the past few days as we work to meet the sudden challenge of transitioning to an online format. Our goals are to provide: high quality video and images, some degree of interactivity between students and teachers, and flexible options for students. We are testing and evaluating the technology and services available to us, including Zoom Meetings.

OUR CURRENT PLAN (updated today 3/23)

1. WE ARE DELAYING THE START OF SPRING TRIMESTER CLASSES until this coming Monday, March 30. We have been working overtime to get ready. We are adjusting our current plan to be prepared for mandatory full isolation if that were to occur.

2. WE WILL BEGIN USING ZOOM MEETINGS TO PRESENT CLASSES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We hope to be ready with Zoom classes by next week. If Zoom classes are not ready, we will provide produced video classes of our planned curriculum with teachers available for consultation, probably via Zoom. All classes will be available as stand-alone videos that can be viewed at any time.

We are planning to schedule weekly online classes at times similar to our in-studio classes. Due to limitations with Zoom Meetings we will have to limit the number of classes we can offer each day. This may require students who are registered for a particular day to participate in the online class on a different day.

3. ART SUPPLY KITS have been ordered and should arrive in the next few days. We will begin assembling kits immediately for pickup only at pre-arranged times outside the studio where we can minimize exposure for everyone. We will contact you again as soon as they are delivered and can begin assembly.

4. APRIL VACATION BREAK - ActonArt will continue to provide online classes during the vacation week (4/20 - 4/25) to make up for this delayed first week of classes.

5. WE HAVE SET UP A PAYPAL ACCOUNT so families can pay by credit/debit card online. We will send Paypal invoices very soon to all unpaid students so easy payment can be made. Students who are registered but unpaid will not receive online classes.

6. WE ARE GOING TO SEND EVERY PAID STUDENT SOME FREE VIDEO CLASSES WHILE WAITING FOR OUR SPRING CLASSES TO BEGIN. These will be classes recorded previously for all different class levels. If your kids are already bouncing off the walls they might like to spend some time drawing! Please watch your email this week for links to these free video classes.

Thank you again for your support. All of us at ActonArt are sharing your experience right now. It is difficult, and we hope we can make it a bit easier for your family in the coming days.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding any of this information.

John Goodnough

How Inuits teach children to control anger

I came across this article recently and found it to be remarkable. It's one of those "if I could only go back and raise my kids again" articles that really makes you think about how we as adults nearly always raise our children in the same way we were raised by our parents. Even if we're committed to doing things differently! It's also fascinating to consider that many of our emotional responses are culturally trained. It certainly reopens that nagging question about violent video games again…

Missed classes and Make-ups!

Recently a telephone sales person caught me unprepared and I ended up having an unwanted conversation. While making their pitch the salesman casually asked me "what's the greatest problem you face in your business today?" No doubt they were hoping that buying ads on their review portal was going to be my salvation. But my answer came effortlessly and instantly. MAKE-UP CLASSES! No other single issue causes such problems, confrontations, and anxiety!

As ActonArt has grown over the years it feels as though requests for make-up classes have not only kept pace, but actually increased exponentially. So, recently we visited the web sites of other nearby educational organizations to see how ActonArt's policy compares with theirs. What we learned did not surprise me, but it may surprise you! Out of all the locally known arts and music programs in the MetroWest area, ActonArt is the only one that offers any kind of make-up opportunity. We've listed a number of the most recognizable programs below with some direct quotes from their web sites regarding their make-up policies.

Indian Hill Music - Littleton
“Individual absences for a Class or Ensemble cannot be made up.”

The Umbrella Community Arts Center – Concord
There are no opportunities to make up missed classes.

Garro Studios at ArtSpace - Maynard
“There are no makeups or refunds for missed classes.”

Concord Conservatory of Music – Concord
“Student absence from group/ensemble instruction will not be made up.”

Danforth Art Museum/ School – Framingham
“We are unable to offer make-up classes if students are absent.”

MFA Kids Studio Art Classes
“We do not offer make-up classes for students who need to miss a class.”

New Art Center – Newtonville
There are no opportunities to make up missed classes.

Newton Music Academy – Newton
“No make-ups are guaranteed and are subject to the space availability.”

Worcester Art Museum – Worcester
"Make-up classes are not offered for any reason to individuals who choose not to attend a class that was held, including travel conditions. Students may not “sit in” on any other class, even with the same instructor, to make-up for a class absence or cancellation."

Coding Butterfly - Coding & Robotics School - Newton
“Make-up classes are scheduled only when they are cancelled due to a school closing”.

THESE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE solved the problem of Make-up classes by simply saying "no." And honestly I don't fault them. I understand how difficult, expensive and disruptive it can be to try to accommodate the dozens of people who miss classes each week. Students and families don't always plan to miss classes, but life gets busy, schedules change and people get sick…so It's going to happen!

For now, ActonArt will continue to provide one online video make up class per trimester to students. We know from many, many experiences that a majority of students cannot attend classes at any time other than their regular class. Plus we will not overfill classes for make-ups. Our online videos are high-quality, available at any time and made specifically as make-up classes. The videos allow us to continue providing a make-up option for students to replace a class they have missed. It's a win for everyone!

Art & Identity

Our identity is the foundation of who we are as individuals. Our confidence, motivation, passion and durability are but a few aspects of who we see ourselves to be, and ultimately how we behave and interact in the world.

Children have identities that begin to emerge not long after they join us on this earth. Their personalities begin to show who they are leaning towards becoming long before they can speak. Some are brash and fearless—others pensive and cautious. Many are a mixed bag simply trying on new versions of themselves to see what they like. We adults respond to their outward expressions and tend to nudge their behaviors in ways that we often don’t recognize in that moment. When we affirm them, they’re happy and smart enough to know “that one is a keeper”. If we react negatively they may persist for a bit, but usually move on. It’s a constant process of identity building that we witness as children grow from toddlers, to tweens, teens, and beyond.

Art, and more specifically drawing ability, is a building block of identity. Virtually everyone knows precisely how they would fill in the blank on the sentence, “I am _______ when it comes to drawing.” A majority of adults would say not good or even terrible, and they’ve felt that way since they were between 5 and 9 years of age! That’s the age when children either accept or reject the role of Artist as part of their personal identity.

While children are still receptive to seeing themselves as artists they view drawings and art they make as extensions of themselves. It’s personal for them, in a way that is often misunderstood by adults. When children are engaged and excited by their artwork they want to share it and know that it’s appreciated as a personal accomplishment. When a child’s drawing is criticized, even if only in jest, it’s strongly felt and probably never forgotten and it can lead to to end of the child’s interest and identification with the role of being “artistic”.

Something to say

EVERY NOW AND THEN something crops up that inspires one of us to write, and not draw! When this happens you’ll find the results here. Opinions may be expressed, and you may or may not agree with them. We’re okay with that, and hopefully you are too. You may also find helpful information here, like when will registration open—how to improve your chances of getting into a particular class—or what kind of materials we use and why. Stuff like that.

Thanks for checking in!