Grayson Leslie (’21) encourages students to reconnect to their artistic side during quarantine


Jessica Levin ('22)

During rough times in quarantine, complete something that makes you happy.

What do you do after being stuck at home for the majority of the past five months? What do you occupy yourself with and how has being in lockdown changed you? As a person what’s different? For Grayson Leslie (‘21), it’s her hobbies and rediscovery of the arts.

Leslie has always enjoyed art, from drawing to painting to most things in between, but the busyness of her lifestyle didn’t allow much time for it.

“I would get home late and want to paint, but there was homework and by the time I was done, I was just too tired,” said Leslie.

Before school closed in March, Leslie had just won the t-shirt competition for junior prom, designing a t-shirt for the entirety of her grade to wear in memory of junior prom. Feeling kind of hidden, Leslie was really looking forward to seeing her peers enjoy something that she put so much time into, and something that she really loved. Although Leslie’s shirt was not printed because Junior Prom wasn’t able to happen, Leslie is not letting that loss take too much from her and is instead looking towards the future and ways she can stay creative.

“I’ve been painting for friends and for my family, like one of my friends is going to college, and I promised to send her a painting for her dorm whenever I can,” she said.

Though the final product isn’t her only motivation to paint, Leslie says that taking the time to actually sit down and paint allowed her to express herself better and feel more comfortable with herself.

“Painting lets me express everything I’m thinking and feeling and it’s fun along the way. It’s also nice because I can take pride in my work when it’s done and feel confident about what I made,” she said.

Leslie’s creativity continues to shine through with her involvement in the yearbook. This year, Leslie is the editor of the senior and activities sections. Although there are differences in the way that the yearbook will work this year and this past school year, Leslie is still excited about the book that she has the chance to create that hopefully will portray all of the senior class accomplishments over the past years, rather than focusing on what was lost.

Leslie explained the ‘look back’ that the yearbook will be trying to achieve this year, partially because of the difficulty securing photos in the new school environment and partially because of the uncertainty with the upcoming school year.

The arts remain present in Leslie’s life with her newfound interest in movies. Becoming an avid movie watcher, Leslie has taken to reviewing and critiquing the movies she watches and giving friends detailed reasons as to why or why not watch these movies.
Away from the structures of a normal day, and in this new limbo the pandemic has created, Leslie and many others have found small ways to reinvent themselves and to focus on the things that they actually enjoy doing. Creating habits and hobbies they wish to keep in their lives even afterlife goes back to normal.

Leslie is excited about where the future is going and is looking forward to enjoying her senior year under these ever changing circumstances. Even with applying to college, she is determined to keep painting and continue keeping the creativity in her life.