Character Animation Student’s Graphic Essay Published in The Washington Post

Screenshot from The Washington Post

A little more than two weeks ago, CalArts suspended classes in an effort to protect the community through safe social distancing practices. It’s been a stressful and anxious time for many as the world faces the unknown, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

But there are glimmers of hope. Moments of joy. Art.

It was during those first few days of sheltering at home that third-year CalArts Character Animation student Kim McMahon took to drawing and illustrating—focusing on some of the positives she found in physical distance. 

On March 15, McMahon posted the work to her social media accounts, including Instagram (below). CalArts President Ravi Rajan was struck by the power of the message; he asked if he could also share it on his social media as well, and see if it could be published nationally. Ravi approached CalArts alum and current faculty member Ann Telnaes, who is the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist for The Washington Post, for help.

Connections were made by Telnaes, and Rajan helped McMahon submit the work to the Post’s editorial board. Today (April 2), The Washington Post published the entire comic, “An Upside to All This Downtime.” 

“I am very excited and very grateful that my little comic got published in The Washington Post! It gives me the feeling that art can be a great tool to reach and touch people, especially in confusing times like these,” McMahon said. “I am hoping that more artists share their feelings and experiences about this situation with the world.“

McMahon’s graphic essay is a testament to the power of positive thinking—and the strength of the CalArts community.

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