Staying Creative During COVID-19

During COVID-19, we’re spending more time at home than we’re maybe used to. For some, this means extra time spent playing with — and managing — the kids, for others, any extra time offers a much needed pause to rejuvenate, refresh and stay well. No matter the unique situation, we’re all coming together and responding to the situation in thoughtful, creative ways. Here are just a few ways our team is staying creative (and sane) during COVID-19:

Staying creative during COVID with handmade cards

Making New Traditions

I’ve been taking out my markers to make a few bubble letter posters for car parade birthday greetings and if I can’t get there in the car, then I’ll just show my artwork in the Zoom birthday party. 

Each day I play either online canasta or online mah jongg with my friends.   Canasta has become part of my nighttime ritual, a way to catch up on everyone’s day while playing a hand on-line and we talk on Discord at the same time so we feel like we’re real gamers like our kids!”

-Jennifer Oppenheimer, Senior Vice President


Painting… Nonstop

“I don’t know how creative I’ve been, does painting almost every square inch of our house count as creative? I’m working on our kitchen cabinets right now.”

-Shelby Vukic, Office Manager & Executive Assistant


Slowing Down to Stargaze

“What I think I’ve enjoyed the most is slowing down, and not having to go go go all the time. Being able to relax outside in the evening, take a dip in the pool, soak in the hot tub and see the AZ stars. I have been enjoying my mornings watering all our potted plants, herbs and flowers in the back. I’ve been cooking a lot, we are eating better, and with fresher ingredients too. Saving money on not eating out as much as we were doing!”

-Jamie Springer, Regional Manager


Becoming Adventurers, Gardeners and Ornithologists

“Big things have happened in my house during shelter-in-place. My son became potty trained and learned how to ride a scooter. We play with the bouncy house in the backyard every day that the weather allows and go on a ton of nature walks. We live on a ravine so we go out looking for deer, foxes, fish, and birds. The kids have a blast. We spend a lot of time looking through binoculars these days – we have an owl living in a tree in our backyard as well as woodpeckers, robins and cardinals.  The other day we spotted a scarlet tanager.  We’ve become a house of ornithologists!  We also planted some seeds in our garden – so far just arugula and basil but we plan to plant the rest next weekend.”

-Ali Burnham, Marketing Director


From our homes to yours, we hope these stories provide some inspiration and help you find new ways to stay creative during COVID-19, too!


The Work of Pablo Picasso

One of the world’s most iconic creators, Pablo Picasso is globally known as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His brightly-colored work adorns the walls of our Optima buildings, and today we dive into his life and work.

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso, 1912. Photo in Public Domain

A Promising Start

Born in Spain in 1881, Picasso was a gifted artist from a young age, receiving lessons early on from his father, who was also a painter. While trained and mentored in academic realism, by the time Picasso was sixteen, his interpretation of Modernism began to attract attention within the art world. Picasso struggled with the close influence of his father, who he fought with frequently, and eventually bounced back and forth between Spain and France to pursue his own distinguished style.

An Expansive Body of Work

Throughout his life, Picasso became known for his range of distinctive styles and contributions to various art movements. His work covered Cubism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, as well as his famous Blue Period and Rose Period. Having lived in Europe through both World Wars, Picasso’s work is reflective of a world changing rapidly and drastically. While living in a German-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso continued to create paintings and sculptures, despite the fact that his work did not fit the Nazi ideal of art. By the time Paris was liberated, he was already an international celebrity within the art world, a reputation that continued to grow.

Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, 1967. Credit: Dan DeLuca on Flickr Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0 Deed

A Lasting Legacy

Throughout his life, Picasso refined his mastery of painting, sculpting, printmaking, ceramics and stage design, while also dabbling in poetry and film. His art came with a turbulent personal life, including a web of muses, mistresses, wives and grandchildren, which proved complicated when it came to his estate after he passed away in 1973. His legacy was one of rigorous exploration and zealous creativity, solidifying his name as one of the world’s greatest artists.


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