How do you handle a pandemic as an artist and a small business owner? For Deborah Kepes and her students at Cobble Creek Studios Art Academy there’s a simple answer — you draw.

While adhering to CDC guidelines, the Snellville-based studio re-opened for in-person business this year.

“Opening safely was at the forefront of our concern. In doing so, it became a priority that all who entered the studio must wear a mask, if they did not have one, one would be provided,” Kepes said. “Temperatures were checked and positioning the children six feet or more apart was a necessity. We limited how many students could be placed in a room.”

In the first couple of months after reopening, only the teenagers and adults began classes in person. In August, the 8- to 11-year-old students returned.

As a way to bring the younger children’s imagination, Kepes had the children paint themselves wearing their masks in Pop Art style.

“The colors are bright, nearly florescent and the perfect way to bring a child’s imagination into play,” Kepes said.

The student drew their portrait on a 8-foot by 10-foot canvas from a photo that was taken with them wearing their mask. Then they used their creative side to choose colors for their skin tone, clothing and mask. The project took approximately eight weeks to complete.

“I cannot stress how proud we are of the work they have completed,” Kepes said. “The paintings are vibrant and alive! Andy Warhol would be so happy to see their personalities come through in the paintings. What better way is there for a child to embrace wearing a mask then seeing themselves in it in such a delightful way?”

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