Notes from February 2021 meeting of Pueblo Makes

The meeting focused on the topic of teaching online classes and creating videos. At our January meeting we identified this topic as one we want to work on. As Karen said then, “consider offering short courses; while others may already be teaching such a course, your voice might reach someone. “

Pat Montoya (see Before You Forget: uses his channel as his outlet for creativity, including episodes in a father/son adventure blog. The YouTube collection of videos and its user base are huge; YouTube is the second largest search engine after google. He urged us to stay as genuine as possible, to start with an idea and then make videos. Get the first few videos up, get off the ground, and then gather momentum. Many people have anxiety about starting. Get the foundation right and then you can pivot to different topics later. You can also have two or more channels for different topics. He said that a lot of people reuse content but he advocated for making organic content. You can also use YouTube to draw people’s interest to other platforms, but be sure to be honest and genuine with everything. People want lifestyle stories, for example, healthy practices. Videos can be made from your phone, your tablet, your laptop, or with a simple camera; Pat uses a GoPro Hero8, but started with his iPhone. If you use audio content from someone else, make sure it is not copyrighted. You can subscribe (follow) other people and that list shows up on the left side of your YouTube page.

YouTube videos are available for free, although they can be restricted to be available only to people who have the link. Various platforms are available to sell your short course: Activingo, Teachable, Patreon.

Jane has created a channel for Pueblo Makes ( but she is not sure about how she intends to use it. She mentioned perhaps having makers interview each other or spotlighting a maker each month. and Pat liked that idea. The Arts Alliance also has a channel:

LaDoris announced that her business Designs by LaDoris will have a grand reopening with the Pueblo West Chamber of Commerce at Project Inspire, 19 March, 5 PM. Gregory is working with Ladoris through Project Inspire to create master classes, starting with three on how to sew a hem, how to sew a button, and how to put in a zipper. Gregory said that classes can be a source of revenue. You can charge a fee per class. You can put short videos on YouTube as a teaser and then in the information section on YouTube for that video, you can have a link to take people to register for the class. There are appropriate places for a tutorial and for paid content. He mentioned Vimeo and said Project Inspire is using Squarespace as a platform. He said that 1 March he will have an announcement concerning Masterclasses. Other useful platforms are Activingo and Teachable. Each has nuances for how they can be used and they differ in costs.  Gregory recommended that the Pueblo Makes web page could have a section on these resources.

We discussed the role of the library and possible studios for making videos. Karen is working on one to be located at the Arts Alliance. There is also equipment available at the library, which is not reopened yet, but should be soon. Contact Sharon Rice for information.

Gregory discussed embedding story tellers in Pueblo’s organizations as a guerrilla operation. For example, Pat is doing that at Evraz and Gregory asked us to let him know of other organizations that need story tellers.  “Someone has to tell that story.” Pueblo doesn’t tell its own story well and we need to do that.

Caroline, CSU-Pueblo art professor, demonstrated techniques she is doing to teach studio classes during COVID. She said everyone is stressed, but she was excited and “I love disruption” because opportunities will emerge. The Arts have become prominent with lockdown. People want to watch ballet online, read books, see art. Since General Education courses require including seven topics, including wellness, she recognizes the anxiety, stress, and illness of students but also the opportunity. To create you have to be well. Everyone is in a different situation but coming together via zoom. She teaches drafting, drawing. perspective, shade, creativity. Don’t expect online to be like studio, but in some ways it is better. Since students are used to getting information from the computer anyway, she builds on that. As a student she looked at art in books or had to pay a lot to visit the Art Institute in Chicago, but now students have art works at their fingertips.

For figure drawing, she doesn’t use a live model, but she uses YouTube to show, for example, a sumo wrestling match. She then stops the video and everyone draws the same view. Then everyone shows their work and gives suggestions. On the screen she can show students postures, angles of body parts, and measurements.

She uses the street view on Google maps to teach when and how to use one-point and two-point perspective. Usually in such a class everyone has a different perspective of the view of an artificial object such as a cube, but with Google street view everyone has the same view of a real object such as a building. Everyone can stand at the same point in the road.

Since not everyone has access to the same materials (such as painting tools) she wants to promote wellness and creativity by enabling everyone to participate and feel good. She showed a color wheel created with home objects and a portrait created from found objects, which takes imagination. For her art appreciation class, she had students go outside and draw a map of sounds you hear and where they are coming from. Show us your perception from your location. She praised Zoom for helping us lose sense of place and for it as a way to connect to one another.

Pat echoed the role of creativity in creating happiness. LaDoris said she has her granddaughters draw something in nature. Caroline talked about being energetic with what you are doing, getting a sense of place back while crazy things are happening. She showed artist James Ensor’s painting self-portrait with mask and then asked the students to make masks.  

She has experimented with what she looks like using a green screen without a green screen. She showed a video of moving with a tree background, which could then be made into a drawing. She used a mushroom background video to be part human and part mushroom and another from a moving car to eat the road. (Karen called these examples “the best use of zoom I’ve ever seen.”) Caroline urged us to work with you have, with what you can do.

Caroline challenged her students to devise the best way to convey a drawing. In person, a student would just show a charcoal drawing to classmates but in digital format, features like texture are missing.  Some made drawings into videos. Others turned poems into animation with drawings. All students read the same story, then drew their impressions.

Caroline uses the game exquisite corpse. In person, each draws a part of a body on a folded up piece of paper, which is then opened up to reveal the whole drawing. Online, students put sections in chat, then put them together. Then students redraw the drawing as a whole

Caroline doesn’t spend the whole class on zoom. There can be time to work on your own and come back with questions. Don’t take up all their time.  If they have questions, they will come to you.

Elliott, who does online coaching, said that not having face-to-face contact means he has to rely on other mental faculties including intuition.  Caroline said she feels a little closer to the students because they’re not distracted, they are right here. We talk about the pandemic, my neck is killing me, we trade stretches. Standing in front of classroom, I’m the expert. How do you believe what I say? Working via zoom is more equal; the person who is talking is the expert. It is very freeing because we can focus on the matter at hand and make the best artwork possible.  I don’t like what it does to the body. I miss people. But there are benefits.

Drew thanked the members of Pueblo Makes who served as judges for the remote STEM fair., this year all in individual, not team, projects. 24 students are moving on to regionals.

Next month at our meeting on 16 March, Paula Robben will lead us in a Vision Lab using the Dream Builder program in which we consult our hearts and minds to create a vision for makers and making in Pueblo.

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