Have you been sketching or painting lately? Taking up knitting again, dusting off the guitar, or choreographing dances with your kids? During this period of physical separation due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NYU News team has been hearing from members of the NYU community all across the globe about how creativity is sustaining them right now, whether by nurturing connections to others, serving as an outlet for complex emotions, or simply providing a mindful break from the news.

Below are just some examples that we found inspiring—and we're eager to share more! Send your own creations to nyustories@nyu.edu to be featured here or on the University's social media channels.

Portraits by Charlene Allison Manipon (CAS '23)

three painted portraits of women

hand holding up a portrait of a woman

"I’m a CAS biochem freshman who hasn’t had the time to paint in years, but missing my friends has driven me to paint their portraits and mail them the results. There are small ways to show your love during quarantine."

The NYU Cleftomaniacs a cappella group signing Natasha Bedingfield's "Unwritten"


"Our music director, Kaeli Heffner, arranged the piece for eight parts and each member sent in a video recording of their part. The solos are our four graduating seniors: Ridhi Vakharia (Nursing '20), Kaeli Heffner (Tisch '20), Madeleine Ahr (Nursing '20), and Emma Yaniger (Tisch '20). Karine Bruce-Doe ('21, CAS) is beatboxing, and everything you hear is coming from our mouths! A Clefto alum, Nicky Brenner (Tisch '19), mixed and edited them together into one video!" On Instagram: @nyucleftos

Painting by Abby Lamdan (CAS '21)

"During quarantine, I've been painting more than ever before! This weekend I completed an oil painting inspired by a photograph taken by a friend while we were together at NYU Paris this semester." On Instagram: @art.by.alamdan

Nutella paintings by Melika Shahin (NYU Abu Dhabi '22)

“Being quarantined away from home meant not having all my art supplies with me, so I had to get creative. My roommates had all gone home and told me to feel free to have any of the groceries they left behind. One day, while I was bored, I started looking around the shelves and noticed a whole jar of Nutella and it immediately struck me that the consistency of Nutella was similar to paint, so I started experimenting and now it’s become a whole series!" On Instagram: @melzarts

Knitting by Capri Christianson (Silver '20)

embroidered purple hearts in a bowl, a hand is lifting out one

a handwritten letter

"While in quarantine, I have knitted puffy little hearts for everyone in my building to spread kindness and positive vibes."

Julia Anne Cohen (Steinhardt '21) and Steinhardt's Pop Rock Ensemble Performing "One Thousand Years"


“During this song I took each lyric as it came, trying to be human. So many times we get caught up in the appearance or sound of something, but when I'm in my makeshift recording studio, I think it's one of the easiest ways to just be a person feeling raw emotion."

Paintings by William Ferrante (Dentistry '21)

painting of New York City scene

painting of new york city scene

"One of the great things about having some outdoor space in my apartment is that I can sit outside on nice days and paint the view. I haven't painted since my undergrad days, so it's been nice to get back into it!"

Embroidery by Madeleine Gyory (NYU Law '17)

"This embroidery portrait of Zadie Smith took me 4 months to complete!" On Instagram: @gyory.embroidery

Comics by Tommy Attwood (SPS '21)

"Making comics is what gets me through!" On Instagram: @spiritualcardboard

Drawings by Marieke Bauer (Tisch '20)

“Creating these pieces of art is a means of specified art during such an uncertain time. It has been a tether to reality for me. During the school year I was in charge of the whiteboard of faces at Weinstein, and when I had to leave I no longer had that visual art outlet, and this project has taken a similar spot in my life, which has been a simple but lovely comfort.”

drawing of a woman's face in profile and a cloud

drawing of a half of a woman's face and half of an owl's face

drawing of half of a man's face and half of a rodent's face

drawing of a woman touching a cloud

Ben Schonhorn (Steinhardt '23), Maxim Estevez-Curtis (Steinhardt '23), and the West 4th Street Collective performing Brahms's Academic Festival Overture


West 4th Street Collective is a new creative group composed of undergraduate Steinhardt instrumental performance majors. “Brahms wrote Academic Festival Overture to celebrate education. We wanted to use it as a way to announce that we are going to continue to learn and continue to build our musicianship, even if we all can't gather in a concert to perform together.”

Matisse-inspired painting by Yihan Li (Tandon '20)

painting of nude dancers in a circle

"I really love 'Dance' by Henri Matisse. The joy was so pure for me to reproduce these arms-outstretched dancers. I am graduating this May and looking forward to the rescheduled Commencement. Then I will shout out to the class of 2020, 'wow, it's a tough year but we made it!'"

Music composition by Ethan Helm (Steinhardt PhD student)


"I wrote this piece in 2013, imagining what it would be like to walk around New York City 100 years ago. I had no idea at the time that a Swedish camera crew from Svenska Biografteatern had documented this exact experience in 1911! So I arranged and recorded the piece for alto saxophones and flutes, and selected some of my favorite scenes to go along with it. I'm pretty sure I spy some NYU buildings here, too." On Instagram: @ethan_helm

Sculpture by Evian Zhang (Steinhardt '23)

abstract sculpture

abstract sculpture in the back pocket of a pair of jeans

"This untitled sculpture was made by materials that can be accessed simply at home. It's experimental, but not the result of a comprehensive thinking process. It is enjoyable for me to improvise under these circumstances by combining random inspirations."

The Hungry March Band performing "The Surf"


Band members include several NYU alumni:

  • Jason Candler (Tisch '91): alto saxophone, audio production & mix
  • Maurice Martin (School of Medicine '76) - alto saxophone
  • Jeremy Mushlin (Wagner '95) - trumpet
  • Sara Valentine (Gallatin '93) - clave, dancer
  • Sandra Glazer (Center for Legal Studies '06) - dancer
  • Anders Nelson (CAS '04) - snare drum

Hungry March Band formed in 1997, and recently, just before the coronavirus hit, a smaller unit of the group was performing regularly in Washington Square Park.

E-painting by Amanda McDowell (CAS '20)

an ipad with a Bob Ross painting on it

"During quarantine, I picked up my love for painting—well, e-painting—along with Bob Ross! His Netflix series is super easy and fun to follow along with. This is my favorite one I’ve done so far."

Virtual choir performance directed by Valesca Gongora (Steinhardt '22)


"For a class project, I brought together a group of 20 incredible friends to sing a song of hope. During this time of social distancing, I hope this video will show everyone that there can still be a sense of unity and togetherness. We hope this video will inspire those who need it the most. This performance of “Shed a Little Light”—written by James Taylor and arranged by Greg Jasperse—is dedicated to those on the front lines: healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store workers, restaurant employees, and everyone who has lent a helping hand during this time."

Painting by Jerome Miller (Faculty Support, School of Law)

"Solitude." 9" X 12" acrylic on linen paper
On Instagram: @artjrome

Painting by Kei Andersen (Administrative Aide, College of Global Public Health)

abstract painting of an eye within a flower

"Here's a small painting I did recently during this self-quarantine—inspired by the poem 'In a Dark Time' by Theodore Roethke."

Pen drawing by Polly Terzian (Administrative Program Coordinator, NYU Washington DC)

pen drawing of a pug

Painting by Adeola Uthman (CAS '20)

painting of birds in a blue sky

Painting of a swan in water

Zine by Monica Gayanelo (Steinhardt '20)

"I recently made this zine about saying goodbye to NYU as a senior, and all of the experiences that made me who I am today."

Paintings by Komal Sidhu (Dentistry '15)

painting of a house

painting of a peacock in a tree

"I am an NYU alum from the College of Dentistry. I have never painted and never thought of myself as a creative person but to kill time during quarantine I decided to give it a try. These are not original ideas—I take online tutorials these are a couple of my favorites so far."

Painting by Dani Zebede (NYU '24) 

painting of a woman

"I am an incoming freshman at NYU and have been using a lot of this time to focus on my art."

Drawing by Katherine Ponce (NYU '24)

art collage with text "Inspire"

"I am a new student admitted into NYU for the 2020 Fall semester, which I am super excited about. I was watching instagram stories and came across NYU's stories and saw a lot of beautiful artwork done by students from NYU. These are difficult times we are going through and seeing how everyone is doing their best to stay positive is absolutely beautiful." On Instagram: @Bunnyfacekat

An original song, "Half Light," by Joe Makoviecki (CAS '21) and his band Jackson Pines

"Since leaving New York, my band, Jackson Pines, remotely recorded and mixed a new single called "Half Light" and donated it to Co-mission, a digital mixtape for musician relief, curated by Fred Knettel of WXPN FM and Folkways Records. Proceeds have already exceeded thousands of dollars to produce the next volume and pay all the artists during this period of no work." 

A short film, "In a Brown Study," by Samantha Dady (Liberal Studies '22)


"For my course "Reaction and Dissent in the 20th Century: Existentialism, Magical Realism, and Theatre of the Absurd" (taught by professor Heidi White) I created a final film utilizing the themes of Theater of the Absurd to capture the anxiety of, and existential solution to, the past few months in quarantine."