Kansas City Ballet Second Company Dancer, Fiona Lee, was devastated to learn the remainder of the company’s 2019-20 season had been canceled due to Covid-19. After the announcement, she headed back home to be with her family in Livingston, Montana.
PAINTING IS AN OUTLET
During this unscheduled sabbatical from her routine, Fiona leaned into a hobby she’d had for years: painting ballerinas.
“The first painting I ever did I gave to one of my teachers at School of American Ballet (SAB) as a thank you card,” Fiona remembers.
Since then, whenever she’s participated in a ballet, she has given all the ballet masters or teachers hand-painted cards as a thank you. The cards always feature characters from the production they’ve been working on. Her favorite thing to paint are the beautiful ballet costumes.
“I was able to turn to painting. It has been an incredibly creative outlet for me while I am unable to train and rehearse with Kansas City Ballet as normal,” she says. “And, because many of my friends and mentors are often inspirations for my creations, painting can make me feel more connected to them.”
The cards eventually began to pile up.
At first, Fiona didn’t know with whom or where to share them. Seeing how this pandemic has affected all of the arts organizations in the country and across the world was extremely disheartening to her and made her feel a little helpless.
Then, inspiration struck.
“I came up with the idea to sell my work on Etsy and donate to the KCB Relief and Recovery Fund. The small but hopefully meaningful difference these cards are able to make, both for KCB’s Relief and Recovery Fund and to the people who receive them, gives me a little more hope for how we can protect what we value the most,” Fiona says.
Fiona hopes to be able to continue growing creatively.
GIVING THANKS TO KCB HEROES
When asked about her feelings towards those purchasing her artwork and those donating to KC Ballet’s Fund, Fiona says: “I would like to say that not only are you supporting ballet in Kansas City, but your donation is affirming the importance of dance across the nation. The fact that you believe in Kansas City Ballet’s mission enough to give something (large or small!) means that dance is significant to you. By donating to the relief fund, you are helping others to eventually discover what dance means to them through KCB’s continued operation!”
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
What lies ahead for Fiona?
“I think it would be so incredible to see what I have made in a physical shop in the future. I’m also considering expanding to more than just cards. So stay tuned!” she says.
However, her ultimate goal is to start rehearsing and performing with Kansas City Ballet again this fall.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Interested in purchasing one of Fiona’s creations? Visit her Painted Primas Etsy store or see her whole collection on Instagram at @PaintedPrimas.