Arlington Heights art teacher brushes aside COVID-19

  • Christine Thornton of Mount Prospect opened Hello Art Studio in Arlington Heights last September only to closed the doors in March because of the coronavirus. She now teaches online classes from home.

      Christine Thornton of Mount Prospect opened Hello Art Studio in Arlington Heights last September only to closed the doors in March because of the coronavirus. She now teaches online classes from home. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/29/2020 6:28 AM

When Christine Thornton wanted to start an art studio in Arlington Heights, she wanted the name to be something memorable and approachable for kids, something that said "hello come on in and join us."

Hello Art Studio was born last September, specializing in multimedia and teaching kids ages 7 to 18 with artist's eyes how to draw and capture what they see and put their own spin on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

However, when she was forced to close the doors March 14 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, an uncertain future started to unfold.

"I wasn't sure what to do on a couple of days when the pandemic started, and I didn't want the kids to be exposed to anything that would be bad for them," said Thornton, 48, of Mount Prospect.

She said she always loved art as a kid, and that grew into art education as a painting major and the love of kids.

She taught elementary school art at two Euclid and Indian Grove schools in Mount Prospect. Taking time out to be a mom, she returned to teaching art lessons in her home with four students, and later expanded into her current location. She has 90 students.

The business was going great until the pandemic hit and she went from a fully engaged classroom to closing the doors before developing some popular online classes she teaches from home. Thornton had applied for the federal stimulus in April but no longer needs it.

"It hit us blind for sure, creating a stressful time, (questions of) are we going to make it, what's going to happen" starting filtering through her mind, Thornton said.

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But she created the online classes, people signed up and libraries started hiring her to teach her unique style, and a new business dynamic began. "I got a plan in place and it's going well. We're going to be OK," Thornton said.

For information about Hello Art Studio, visit www.helloartstudio.com

Do you know of a suburban small business with a compelling story to tell about working through the pandemic? Send a detailed email with LIFE'S WORK in the subject line to jknoxh@dailyherald.com and we'll consider it. Thanks.

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