In the tradition of Aloha for Texas and Make a Difference Day, three ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY seniors saw a need in the community and rose to the challenge in a creative and meaningful way. With the entire state of Hawaiʻi staying at home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mina Cintron ’20, Mika Okano ’20, and Lina Finley ’20, were inspired to help others by providing a free and accessible activity that could help people spend their time creatively and relieve stress. They created the Quarantine Art Club, an online project including a website and Instagram account, which provides free, original coloring pages for anyone to download. People can send in photos of their finished pages, which the students share on the Quarantine Art Club Instagram page.
The three students originally planned a project together to help fulfill their CAS (creativity, activity, service) requirements for the IB Diploma Programme. For Finley, the project is also her National Honor Society Individual Service Project. Each with a talent for drawing, they all knew they wanted to incorporate art with their project in some way.
“Our original project was heavily art-related. We all have a passion for art, each with our own unique style and technical ability, so this coloring page idea was certainly an easy project to agree on,” explains Finley.
But their original plans had to be modified as social restrictions were implemented in the community.
“Our options were limited. With the sudden wave of COVID-19 in our community, we had to make changes,” explains Cintron. “We still wanted to incorporate the idea of the arts while being able to work together and collaborate in the safety of our own homes.”
“We also wanted to persuade people to stay inside,” adds Finley. “People tend to believe they will not be affected, however, we cannot take any chances. To prevent further spread and overwhelming the hospitals, we must do our part and stay inside.”
“It was also a way for us as seniors to find ways to relax under the circumstances,” shared Okano. “Missing graduation, senior prom, and other activities was unfortunate, but this project was our way of coming together and sharing what we love in our last year at IPA. I hope that after we have finished our project it will become a bittersweet, yet treasured, memory of how we spent our last year in high school together.”
Through the idea of combining their art with a digital platform, the Quarantine Art Club was born. Their creative solution solved the issue of being able to communicate and interact with the community while still practicing social-distancing.
Finley created a website for the project where galleries of their coloring pages are shared for download. The three students each contribute art work to the project and all of their designs are originals that they create digitally using a drawing app on their iPads. They decide on a theme for each week (e.g., Hawaiʻi, food, Easter), and their goal is to post a coloring page every day with each student posting a drawing every three days. The look of their designs is coherent, friendly, and fun, despite the different styles of drawing they each possess.
“Since we have completely different styles of drawing, we chose to do a [Nintendo] Animal Crossing-inspired design,” explains Finley. “Those types of small, simple characters are easier to color, especially for younger children, and the characters are also very cute. We are all having a lot of fun creating the art for QAC.”
So far, the biggest challenge of this project has been getting their work noticed.
“Our goal is not only to create fun coloring pages for people to enjoy, but also to reach as many people as possible so that they can enjoy the coloring pages we have created,” explains Cintron. “My favourite part is being able to see little children holding up a coloring page that I designed and showing off their work with a cute smile. It’s nice to know that something as simple as a coloring page design can bring joy and happiness to a little child’s heart.”
Finley agrees. “We have been receiving amazing feedback from IPA parents and students. It brings me so much joy that people are enjoying coloring the designs we created. It’s a completely different feeling from when my art projects are complimented. Rather than looking at my art, people are actually taking the time out of their day to complete them.”
For Okano, the Quarantine Art Club is an expression of her experience at IPA. “I have been at IPA since junior kindergarten so the impact of IPA’s core values: “whenever you can, help” has been a large influencer in my life,” she shares. “I’m not a naturally outgoing person, so the idea of creating art to help those around our community smile was a perfect fit for me. I am not only able to do what I love, but also share it with others. Simply the thought of that made me grateful that I could help – even if only a small amount.”