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25 Years of Spreading Holiday Joy

In March 2020, Covid-19 abruptly ended all of Marwen's Spring courses and closed the building, including all 8 studios. Marwen's 25th year of its holiday card program almost didn't happen. But nothing was going to stop young people from making art.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Marwen’s Design to Print program, an annual 10-week course sponsored by Helen and Sam Zell where young artists are commissioned to create card designs that are sold in Marwen's online Shop. Hundreds of young artists have created cards for more than two decades -- it's our longest-running commissioned program.

"I was a student in Design to Print this year and I'm really sad it ended early. I was so grateful to be a part of the class and to get to know the teaching artists at Marwen." - Ranya Dano, artist of "Festive Feathers"
Collection of Marwen holiday card designs from the past 25 years
Collection of Marwen holiday card designs from the past 25 years

As summer approached, everyone stayed in touch, and when the time was right, we delivered art kits with the materials and paint colors specific to their work. Within weeks, 12 new designs were completed. After scanning, proofing, printing, and packing the cards, we safely delivered a fresh batch to each young person.

"This class was very informative and introduced me to the business aspects of being a commissioned artist -- something I never thought of before. It showed me everything I have to take into consideration." - Arianna Baylock, artist of "Warmth in the Cold Night"
Marwen Design to Print 2020 young artists
Marwen's 2020 Design to Print young artists

We won’t let a pandemic stop us from making art.


Young people have had so much taken away from them during this tumultuous pandemic. Our staff and teaching artists strived to stay connected with them, support them in completing their designs, and ensure that they had the full experience of a commissioned course. To be able to see their faces and their reactions when we delivered their finished cards...it was pure joy all around.

"That's so cool! You see it in person, and it's...wow, it's really good. I'm just shaking because it's amazing seeing all my cards." - Mario Anaya, artist of "A Great Taste of Wind!" upon receiving his cards

Card sales directly support Marwen's no-cost programming for Chicago youth, including virtual arts courses, college planning, and paid career programs. Shop Marwen's collection of 2020 holiday cards and more at https://marwen.org/shop.


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