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Artist putting her talents to good use during COVID-19 crisis

'That is all I can do for him is to try to raise money from home the best I can and this is the best way I know how to'
2020 M Vander Dussen artist
Artist Marianne Vander Dussen stands in front of her work. File photo courtesy Ryen Veldhuis.

A North Bay art teacher is trying to do her best to keep teaching art while working from home. 

Marianne Vander Dussen is an art instructor at Nipissing University where she instructs future art teachers. 

Working from home now, while taking care of twin 20-month-old boys, Vander Dussen has decided to put those talents to good use.

On April 17, she is planning to run an art class online with proceeds to go to the North Bay Hospital Foundation.  

She says people can participate even if they cannot afford to make a donation. 

"I know a lot of people are going through some really tough economic times right now and not in a position to give to the hospital, and that is okay," she said.  

"I would rather have them participate, have fun, indulge in some escapism for a little bit. Painting allows you to enter into a state of flow and you can forget about everything else that is going on and if people are able to give to the hospital that's amazing."  

See related: Passing art through the generations

Vander Dussen decided to take on this unique event after seeing a lot of success with some free online paint classes which got more than 3,000 views and attracted attention from guests as far away as the United States and Qatar. 

The hospital hits close to home for her during the COVID-19 pandemic as her husband Ken works as a physician assistant and is a member of the COVID-19 task force at the North Bay Regional Health Centre. 

"He works so hard, I do not want to gush about my husband too much but when he comes home from work, the first thing he does is research, he is looking at medical papers and he is trying his best 24/7 to prepare for how to be and provide the best level of care," she said. 

"I feel the best thing that I can do is from home, put on my apron, get my paints out and support him from my studio. That is all I can do for him is to try to raise money from home the best I can and this is the best way I know how to." 

Vander Dussen's painting expertise is with landscapes and the April 17 event will be about painting a campfire setting. 

The event is here: