Student Club Creates Digital Project

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up life so substantially that everyone has to get a little creative in redefining their normal. Ursula Hardianto (‘21), President of the Healing Arts Club, organized a digital project to inspire the Bishop’s community to keep positive and thoughtful during this time.

Founded this fall, Healing Arts Club focuses on live performances and using the power of the performing arts to brighten others’ days. Now, the group is exploring how art can connect us, even digitally. Ursula wrote in a letter on the site, “By sharing our thoughts and experiences through writings and pictures, I hope each one of us can find comfort and joy in knowing how our community is continuing to thrive during this unprecedented time.”

Titled “The World @ Your Fingertips: A Community’s Reflection,” this project is a website compilation of Bishopians’ contemplations on these unprecedented times. Musings on the pandemic and its social repercussions—especially social distancing—and images of the world outside our homes fill the site’s pages.

Science teacher Dr. Lani Keller is one of many faculty members to share her thoughts on the site: “Social distancing in a 700 square foot house with only you, your family, and an angry cat is hard! I go through phases of complete calm and contentment which are rapidly followed by extreme anxiety whenever I read the news (which I can’t seem to stop reading). We have been getting out for a lot of walks and in fact we are averaging about 30 miles a week of just walking our neighborhood. My highlights have included watching Tiger King, playing on-line Bingo with friends across the country via Zoom, and laying in the hammock on my back deck reading.”

English and dance teacher Ms. Cresence (’07) Birder wrote: “The slowing down that isolation brings has given me space to tap back into my creative instincts–I think as a way of keeping on, and a way of comforting myself through the challenges of anxiety, change, loss, that unsettling space of not knowing. Creative expression is crucial to processing our lives–it gives us a platform through which we come to know what we are feeling, how to engage with this process of being human. So I’ve been deepening my art of conversation with loved ones, reading so much that my back aches, making up dances in the small nooks of my home. When I tap into my imagination, I feel some sort of universal spirit that reminds me to breathe deeply and open my eyes, to ask my questions and acknowledge my worries but also not forget my laughter.”

Some opted to express themselves via poetry, like Co-Director of College Counseling Mr. Ben Lah and Grace S., an eleventh-grade parent. Ethan Chen (‘21) shared a photo of homemade cookies; Anna Poon (‘21) posted a photo of her dog, Charlie.

In addition to written reflections, the site also has a page dedicated to photos taken (responsibly by social distancing, of course) of the world outside our homes — of restaurant windows covered in hand-drawn signs, of empty streets and parking lots.

The website went live April 9, but the group is continuing to welcome contributions. All of the thoughts and experiences shared, from students, parents, and faculty alike, are available on the club’s website here.