The Weekly 5×5 is Southwest Contemporary’s top five picks of things to do for the next five days. At least that’s what it was until our to-dos became homebound during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re now sharing five things to enjoy from home. If you’d like to receive the Weekly 5×5 in your inbox, subscribe here.
This 5×5 is less about what to consume and more about what to create. In a letter author George Saunders wrote to his creative writing students at Syracuse University, he discusses the importance of paying attention and recording this time. That this is the time the world needs our eyes and ears, for later it is our records that will tell the stories of the 2020 pandemic. So, with that in mind, we’ve gathered some ideas to inspire and guide taking notes, processing, and creating. Making the records. Making some art.
1. The Time is Now Weekly Writing Prompts
The organization Poets & Writers is providing weekly writing prompts in three categories—poetry on Tuesdays, fiction on Wednesdays, and creative nonfiction on Thursdays. Most of them begin with a reference or quote from a great piece of writing to help you feel inspired. Learn more.
2. Robyn A. Frank, About Inside, Drawing Exercise
Albuquerque-based gallery Trapdoor Projects has taken a different approach to a “virtual exhibition” experience by including a drawing exercise lead by artist Robyn A. Frank, whose show About Inside is currently on display (virtually). The exercise, in both audio and pdf format, is truly relaxing, meditative, and centering, and who couldn’t use some of those feelings right now? Learn more
3. Remember How You See Things
There are a ton of photography prompts out there—take photos of reflections, self-portraits, the same subject from 5 different angles, shadows, etc—but perhaps instead of a how-to on this one, think about documenting this unprecedented time visually. Here is a New York Times story with images from photographers around the world shooting from their homes, if you need some inspiration. Learn more.
4. Beginner’s Guide to Drawing
With warm-up exercises for your hands and simple but worthwhile exercises, this animated drawing tutorial is a nice place to get started and frankly to take it easy. There’s a link at the end of the story to more advanced exercises as well. Learn more.
5. Donut Mart & Key Words Writing Project
This Instagram account features a text-based public art project, which provides writing assignments a few times per week. It’s organized by Albuquerque-based non-profit organization Orphan Signs, which adopts empty street signs and transforms them into space for public art. Learn more.
**Bonus** One Day One Theme Drawing Assignment
The background music in this video from 2016 is a little cheesy, but the assignment in this drawing exercise is quite fun, and something you could potentially wrangle your friends and family (even if they’re at a distance) into doing as well. If you can gather a group to participate, then you can share your drawings at the end of the day or week—no mention of COVID required. Learn more.