“Creativity and Resilience” – A conversation with Meagan Grant

April 22, 2020

Meagan Grant has been busy. 

“While the method of delivery has changed, my actual job has not changed much. I’m still meeting with students via Google Hangouts or Zoom, still reaching out through email, and connecting on social media.”

Her actual job(s) is Director of the Academic Access Studio, part-time Liberal Arts faculty, and Academic Advisor. Meg wears a lot of hats. In more ordinary circumstances, her support and assistance with time management, organization, and any accommodations the students require.

The circumstances lately have not been ordinary. Social distancing orders issued in effort to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus have forced people across virtually every community in the country to change the way they interact. That’s as true for Montserrat as it is anywhere else. 

“I miss the face to face interaction and the quick pop in to grab a piece of chocolate and say hello, but I’m grateful we have the technology to stay connected.  I believe now more than ever, we need to practice being in the present with mindfulness practices. I started Mindful Mondays on our community Facebook Page with small suggestions of how mindfulness can help us during this time.”

“Present” she has been. Meg has remained visible and vocal as the Montserrat community has transitioned to an online learning and work-from-home-setup. It was only early-days of the Covid-19 outbreak in Massachusetts when she sent out an email to faculty and staff. 

I have reached out to all students with accommodations to reassure them that although I am not in my office, I am 100% available via email, phone, or video conferencing. I want to extend that support to you as well.

As always, if you are concerned, please let me know. No concern is too small. We’re all in this together  and anything I can do to help, please let me know.

She’s remained active on other internal platforms as well, posting in Montserrat’s community Facebook group frequently, both to touch base with students and community members as well as to remind them that she remains a resource for them to utilize. Distance is not a determining factor. 

And perhaps it’s not that many in the Montserrat community fail to be discouraged by that distance. The staff, faculty, and students of the college come from across the country and beyond it. Meg herself grew up in California, living beside a different ocean, through her family is from Beverly, and hr grandmother and great grandmother worked on Cabot Street.

“I spent the summers running from Bell’s Market to Klink’s Bakery loading up on cookies. Cabot Street was my playground and even as I grew, Montserrat was part of that memory for me. I loved seeing art students with their supplies walking up and down Cabot Street. My husband and I bought my grandparent’s house downtown, within walking distance of Montserrat, and I made it a goal to one day work there.”

Though not usually a visual artist herself, Meg still follows her creative passions in her private life as well as her career path. Anyone who knows Meg and works with her can tell you about her fashion sense, and the creative thought she puts into combining colors, patterns, and textures in her outfits. But what’s more, she’s a writer. Her work has been published in a number of publications and shown in galleries across the North Shore. Just this past February, some of her work was part of the exhibition “Labor: Motherhood and Art” at New Mexico State University. And she hasn’t let the difficulties of social distancing prevent her from expressing herself.

“I’m now leaning into creative practices more than ever. I wake up everyday and even though I’m only going to my home office, I still get dressed like I’m going to campus. I’m writing more than I have on a long time because we are living history and I want to document this time period. With so much of my day being in front of a screen, whereas I’m usually busy with my students, I’m spending more time putting pen to paper because I need a break from technology.

“I don’t want to say I was surprised by how everyone adapted, but I was appreciative. We are, after all, a community of artists which on a day to day basis requires creativity and resilience. We’re learning to exercise these skills in new ways.”

Asked if she had any advice for students in our community as we try to make it through this moment, she said “Lean into your creativity, be patient with yourself, trust your resiliency, support each other, be kind, and know that I am only an email away: [email protected]