Art in the Park with Tacha
Tacha is the next Bob Ross as the Assistant Art Teacher for KenCrest’s virtual and in-person Meaningful Day art classes.
By Sydney Kerelo
With a paintbrush in hand and a smile on her face, Assistant Art Teacher Tacha greets each person who walks in. Tacha’s excitement is palpable as she sets up paint, brushes, and canvases for each person.
“Tacha’s been participating in our virtual classes for a while now,” says Cooper. “I took over the virtual classes when I joined KenCrest. My main goal was to ensure that we were providing classes that appealed to everyone,” says Cooper. “So, I had an open discussion, asking each class what they wanted to learn. Tacha immediately said, ‘I want to do art.'”
And she made that happen.
Cooper helped Tacha establish her art classes, virtually and in person.
The first thing Cooper and Tacha did was flesh out how they wanted the class structure to look. What paintings they wanted to focus on, and how they could incorporate as many people as possible. That’s when Cooper came up with the idea to film a Bob Ross-style class.
Tacha’s home has two phones set up, one facing her canvas and the other facing her. The audience can see both camera views, allowing them to follow along with Tacha as she paints.
“Her main goal is to ensure everyone feels involved and engaged,” says Cooper. “Tacha knows that not everyone can hold a paintbrush or has access to the necessary supplies. So she wanted her classes to appeal to everyone, not only those that can paint. So I thought if we do the classes in a Bob Ross style, people can watch her paint and listen to her talk.”
“We’re slowly and surely incorporating more technology into her classes,” laughs Cooper.
When Tacha was nine years old, an elementary teacher of hers introduced her to painting. Since then, she’s created various portraits, abstract designs, and landscapes.
“It’s my passion,” Tacha says while admiring her work. “I love doing it and being able to teach it to other people.”
After a few virtual classes, Tacha began to see her value. She wanted to earn a living, to make money. But the problem was finding the proper funding.
Cooper spent the next four months talking to the Employment program to find a way to pay Tacha. “There are ODP rules and finance regulations. Everyone kept telling me I had to get a grant, but that wouldn’t be a sustainable income for her. Finally, I figured out a workaround.”
Before coming to KenCrest, Cooper spent 20 years in the education industry. Her experience allows her to become the primary teacher and Tacha her paid assistant.
“I cried ugly tears when they told me that was an acceptable workaround,” Cooper laughs. “I was so happy for her. It was a long four-month journey, but we found a way for her to receive sustainable income within our budget.”
As Assistant Teacher, Tacha’s found her place. She’s strong-willed, passionate, and highly dedicated to her craft. When she sets her mind to something, she goes after it with all she has.
To quote Bob Ross, “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.”