Montclair Sisters Share Their Love of Art and Literature with Community

Area teens have shown us that their ingenuity and passion are far from stifled during this global pandemic. Two Montclair sisters, Clio and Nadia Marcus, are no exception. By focusing on their personal interests and goals, these teens have begun programs and created opportunities to bring more art into the lives of our area’s young people. Clio’s new on-line art gallery and Nadia’s virtual reading group for elementary students are in early stages, but they are sure to inspire young people to take part and bring their own passions to life.

Clio, a junior at Montclair High School, has always been interested in art and loves sharing her artistic creations publicly. However, she always saw creating art as simply a fun hobby. When COVID-19 disrupted Clio’s summer plans, she spent a lot more time drawing and started posting her art on social media channels. The exposure and feedback inspired her to create the Montclair Online Art Gallery for Youth (MOAGY) so young people could display — and even sell! — their art without too much personal pressure. Clio worked through the complications and hurdles of creating the website on a shoestring budget. Getting the look she wanted and working on effective keywords also proved challenging. But it was all worth it. Clio explains her motivation, “I hope MOAGY will give Montclair kids confidence in their artwork and encourage them to continue making art.” Now the challenge is trying to get more submissions!

Nadia, a 2020 Montclair High School graduate and now a student at Rutgers University, has created a reading group called Tell Me A Story! because she loves literature and working with children. Each week Nadia plans to read aloud a section of a novel, hoping to ignite further reading. She has noticed, through her babysitting and in general observations, that lately children seem less apt to read books as a first choice activity. Starting a reading group seemed like a fun way to both inspire more children to read and to feed her own literary enjoyment. Holding Tell Me A Story! over Zoom felt like the most COVID-19 conscious and flexible way to enjoy the books together. The first novel Nadia will read aloud is The Wind in the Willows, a classic she fondly remembers having read to her when she was young. Despite her enthusiasm, Nadia has found it challenging to recruit participants who are available at the same time while balancing her own college classes and work. Nadia is confident that despite the wrinkles, the group will be up and running smoothly soon. For families that want to participate but find the fee prohibitive, Nadia is open to a sliding scale and scholarships for interested children.

For more information about these sisters’ projects, contact them via Clio’s MOAGY website or at Nadia’s email address. We look forward to seeing and hearing how these endeavors grow. And we know more of our area’s young people are using their passions and ingenuity to bring more opportunities to their peers.

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