The Arts
The Arts at EHS

Student's Online Art Classes Reach Kids Globally — and Give Parents a Break

Early during her family’s coronavirus lockdown in their home outside San Francisco, Tabitha Cahan ’21 took pity on her parents. Both were working full-time jobs yet also caring for her youngest sister, 4-year-old Alaska. “It’s tough taking care of 4-year-olds,” Tabitha says. “They have to be entertained 24-7.”

Tabitha was helping her parents with Alaska, but she decided to do more. Taking a page from her EHS distance learning classes, she started an online program to teach little children how to draw — and to give their parents a break. Ready, Set, Draw!, her free art class for ages 4 through 7, debuted April 6 on Zoom. Her first session attracted 10 students — “It was super chaotic; I loved it,” she says — and children from Brazil and London have since joined.

The format is simple: For 20 minutes, she walks kids through the basics of how to draw animal figures — a circle for the body of a pig, for instance, and triangles for its ears. Parents have responded enthusiastically, texting her good reviews as well as thanks for providing a distraction.
Tabitha’s entrepreneurial spirit and business smarts are driving the class’s success more than her love of art. Though she is taking photography at EHS, she has no formal training in drawing. “I can only do very basic stick figures,” she says.

To advertise the class, she built her first website, promoted the instruction through Instagram, and asked her family to send emails to friends and colleagues. Tabitha also enlisted her former preschool teacher to help recruit potential students.

Given the success so far, Tabitha says she is likely to continue the program through the summer. Her first student, meanwhile, is not so sure she likes the class or sharing her sister with others. “It’s been kind of rough for her,” Tabitha acknowledges. “She really likes to be the center of my attention.”

Alaska balked recently at one lesson and told her sister to stop the class. Tabitha, however, explained why she couldn’t do that. “It’s not just for you,” she said. “It’s for everyone.”