Monthly Mentor

Natalie C. Jones (February)
Each month, a different member is the guest writer for the NAEA Monthly Mentor Blog. Natalie C. Jones is an artist, small business owner, and the director of education at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture. She has 10 years of experience working as an art teacher and teaching artist throughout the east coast and the Midwest. Click "GO" to read her full bio.

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« Routines, Rituals, and Peaceful Pauses | Main | November in Review »

November 25, 2020

Friendsgiving

By Lark Keeler

In January 2020 the word Friendsgiving was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary after being on their Words We’re Watching list.  Friendsgiving is a little different looking this November.  Even more this year we crave to get together with our besties, trading stories, recipes, and holiday survival tips.  I recently had a virtual happy hour date with my college roommate, spending time catching up on our lives, professions, and families.  It feels good to connect with friends and loved ones near and far through online meeting services.  I am especially grateful for my friend from grade school that has arranged a few virtual reunions, in which there always seemed to be a wonderful surprise guest that would be invited to attend.  How grateful I am that there are ways to reach out to our loved ones near and far and to remain connected through our times in quarantine and safe isolation.  

The Florida Art Education Association (FAEA) held their annual professional development conference this November in an engaging and innovative virtual format.  Although there were initial concerns about if a virtual format would allow people to feel connected, the results, responses, and reactions from attendees demonstrated that the conference succeeded in bringing us together, despite the physical distances between us.  I was so glad to see my colleagues from around the state, even if they were stacked, boxed, and in gridded camera views.  It was lovely reconnecting, sharing, and coming together in our annual reunion in this new way.

Can you think of someone that you would like to reconnect with?  These strange times are the perfect opportunity to reach out and schedule a virtual chat with a friend.  If a virtual chat does feel quite right, perhaps a piece of mail art would be a lovely way to remind someone that you are thinking about them, grateful for knowing them, and hope that they are well.  Let’s give thanks for the friends and colleagues that we have in our lives--friends from long ago, friends of today, and friends we have yet to meet!

-LK

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