William Paterson University Finds Creative Ways to Teach Art to School Children in Paterson During Pandemic Shutdown

Triada Samaras, art professor-in-residence

When William Paterson University’s College of Education was informed that their partner schools in Paterson, NJ were closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, University professors came up with a creative way to teach children art at home via the blog: learningartathome.blogspot.com.

In a series of short videos that can be watched on a cell phone, children are learning lessons like how to make 3D spiders and create a puppet show, make paint using household items, and listen to stories about art and artists. Triada Samaras, an established artist and William Paterson art professor-in-residence, is featured in the videos.

Samaras has been reading art books and showing children how to create simple art projects with materials that can be easily found at home. 

“After considering various options for reaching our target audience in Paterson, we decided that it would be best to disseminate YouTube videos that could be easily accessible on students’ or their family’s phones any place at home,” says Heejung An, professor of educational leadership and professional studies. “Many families in Paterson do not have computer access, but they do have smartphones. We wanted to remove any technological access barriers and reach as many people as possible.”

An is director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) Grant Program at William Paterson, with partner schools in Paterson, NJ, including School #21, School #12, School # 9, and Don Bosco Technology Academy.

“We created this blog during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide accessibility to art-related activities and offer digital storytelling pertaining to the arts across cultures,” she adds. Feedback about the blog can be sent to: steamempowerment@gmail.com.