SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Wendy Mac is a San Francisco-based illustrator. When the COVID-19 outbreak caused schools to close, she knew kids would need structure for learning, and, perhaps more importantly, a creative outlet for their emotions during a strange time.

Mac began giving free live art lessons on Instagram. Monday through Friday at 10 a.m., thousands of children from 40 different countries across the globe have been watching and learning how to draw. 

“I love it,” Mac told KRON4. Her biggest joy comes from when children hold up their drawings with pride and smiles.

While she is a professional artist, she’d never taught an art class for children before. Mac discovered during the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order that she loves connecting with kids through drawing. Wendy said she will continue doing free Instagram art classes for kids even after schools reopen.

Her nonprofit, Draw Together, raises money to give art kits to children around San Francisco who can’t afford to buy art supplies on their own.

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#DrawTogether believes all kids should have the chance to use drawing to focus, get creative, process feelings and have fun during Covid-19 (and give parents and caregivers a little break!) So we are teaming up with local art stores and community organizations across the USA to provide Art Kits to kids who need them right now. If you follow me here, you know how important drawing is as an emergency relief service for kids and families. But for a lot of folks money is tight and uncertain right now, and many families can’t afford basic art supplies. If you’ve found #DrawTogether helpful, here’s a chance to pay if forward: for 20 dollars you can gift an Art Kit to a kid whose families are tight on cash right now. Imagine, if every family in our #DrawTogether class sponsors one other family with a #DrawTogether Art Kit, imagine how many kids could get drawing supplies (and how many stressed out parents could get a break!) Learn more about what we’re up to, join in and donate at the LINK IN MY BIO! All contributions are tax deductible. Thank you so much for your support. ❤️Everything Is Better When We Draw Together❤️ Huge thanks to & @dropboxdesign for helping launch this endeavor with the first 500 amazing Art Kits, benefitting the @boys.and.girls_club of SF, and to @archsupplies for helping to supply awesome art materials. And @thaogetstaydown for the sweet #DrawTogether song! And @engvinny for *everything* ❤️🎨🙏🏼❤️

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Janet Wolf nominated Mac to be a KRON4 Hero.

Wolf wrote, “Wendy Mac is my hero. She is a SF based Illustrator that has dedicated herself every day since this pandemic began to teaching kids (and kids of all ages) to draw. Her program is “Draw Together” and her slogan is “Everything is better when we draw together.” Wendy is live on Instagram every morning at 10am and has 130K followers! Kids from all over the world! Wendy is amazing with kids and although the conversation is one way, she really makes each child feel like she is talking just to them. Parents send photos of their happy kids with their beautiful works of art. The lessons are well thought out and teach art, fun, respect, compassion, mindfulness, caring for each other and working together.”