Alumnae offer live online art classes while their popular cafe is closed.

Since its opening in 2016, Honey Art Cafe has combined a love for food and art. It is a space where customers can sip lattes or a cup of tea while learning how to make a pair of earrings or paint with watercolors. Even now, in the age of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, the cafe’s owners have found a way to use their platform to bring their love of art to the community.

Honey Art Cafe, created by Lulu Fang ’11 and Amy Lin ’11 (under the collective title Lulu Lin), is now streaming live art lessons on their Facebook page five days a week as a space for people to destress.

Honey Art Cafe’s virtual classes have included Anime doodle, portraiture, and hand-lettering.

“We observed and experienced the world collectively going into isolation while being immersed in COVID-19 news and discussion,” Lin and Fang said. “Offering live online classes was our way of providing a little mental relief session for anyone who needed an activity to take their mind off of the pandemic.”

While they accept any donations viewers can give, the sessions are otherwise entirely free. The projects taught online are similar to what is usually offered at the cafe, but with some flexibility in materials depending on what viewers have available at home. The duo said they have really enjoyed seeing people’s regular engagement in the digital classes so far.
“We’ve had a consistent live viewership throughout the past several weeks of doing the classes as well as a lot of people watching the videos afterward and sending us photos of their completed artwork,” Lin and Fang said.

The café owners said they decided to host these classes to maintain that connection with customers through art that is so fundamental to their cafe. “It’s a small thing compared to what the world is facing, but we felt it was valuable in the sense that people can tune in and practice art for an hour, and maybe that helps them not feel like the pandemic is taking over every minute of their day.”

“Tiny Acts of Kindness,” a project from Rice’s Office of Public Affairs, features stories about Rice Owls responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in kind, creative and effective ways. Read the Rice Magazine series here.