For three years we have partnered with Spikeball on an annual tournament to raise money for the EYE program. Due to COVID-19 we were unable to do that event, but the students came up with a different idea: Capturing the Art of Hope, a virtual “sketch and sip” with a guest to promote health and well being and give back to our supporters and our community. Not only would the event give them a chance to envision and execute a large-scale project but would also showcase local talent.
From day one we worked with Molly Vaile, a remarkable event planner out of Denver, CO, on a vision for an at-home art experience aimed to give a breath from the stress, teach them new art skills and give a chance to come back to school for a night! We compiled contracts for our visiting artist, Neal Nichols, and the venue the Chicago Hope Café. They came up with a vision for the event connecting relaxation with their own aspirations (drawing of the Chicago skyline), constructed and monitored a project timeline, created and launched social media pages and built a website. They also designed invitations, managed a full-scale invite list and collaborated on every aspect of the project, each in his or her own individual role.
Finally, on November 9th, it was event time. We arrived on site around 4:30 PM to prepare with Mr. Nichols, set up cameras and prep the student presentation portion of the evening. Lights went on and the Zoom live at 6PM that evening and what ensued was magical. The students each introduced themselves by sharing their background, their favorite school activities and then what they aspire to do in the future.
Neal Nichols wowed his “students” for 90 minutes with an art lesson, drawing on 20+ years of demonstrating experience before transitioning to the main event. From there he drew a perfect sketch of the Chicago Skyline, pausing every once in a while to check in with his students. We were pleasantly surprised that so many Picasso’s had signed on!
The feedback from the event has been glowing, and we look forward to doing something similar in the future!