Creativity Blooms When AIA New Jersey Architects and Kids Work Side-By-Side at Home

May 6, 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Aric and Adina making hand-rolled couscous together for the first time while living and working at home

Creativity Blooms When AIA New Jersey Architects and Kids Work Side-By-Side at Home

AIA New Jersey members may be stuck at home working and homeschooling, but this new normal is resulting in a creative partnership between parents and children that we did not see when offices and schools were still open. Our members are connecting with their kids on a new level since their time together is concentrated and the results are AMAZING! Let’s take a look…


Donna Miller, AIA, and Jason Peist, AIA, are maintaining their architecture business at home while attempting to harness the creative juices of their daughter, Evelyn. In an effort to keep Evelyn busy while they are working, Donna and Jason are tapping into all their creative resources. They keep daily walks fresh and interesting by bringing along custom, homemade, scavenger hunt worksheets. They have painted their back door with chalk paint to allow for chalking fun without having to be escorted out to the driveway. Evelyn has been a big help in the kitchen with lots of new baking and cooking adventures. Every day they do a new craft together, usually turning household items into decorations. Evelyn has created milk carton bird feeders, converted a clementine crate into an Easter Basket and transformed coffee filters into butterflies! Discarded red line sets of CDs have served as the perfect medium for large format spring scene paintings mounted in the windows for the neighborhood to enjoy as they pass by.  As a result of this artistic explosion, they have seen a significant reduction in their volume of garbage. Win-win, Peist Family!

AIA New Jersey Past President Jerome Eben, FAIA, received a fantastic e-mail from his daughter, Dena. Like most of us, Dena’s children have been learning from home these recent weeks, which has allowed for extra time for “special projects” like one inspired by Opi Jerry! According to Dena, Anna recently completed several craft projects. One was a wooden loft bed for her dolls. At bedtime, Dena told Anna how proud she was of how Anna took ownership of all phases of the project. She planned and executed every step, with only minimal help to ensure there wouldn’t be paint and glue everywhere.

“Well, that’s because I’m an AIA!” Anna replied.
“Yes, you are an architect, just like Opi,” Dena confirmed.
“No, Mom. He’s FAIA!”
As you can imagine, Jerry was brought to tears over Anna’s project, her thoughtful words, but more so over her understanding of the lessons Jerry has offered to bring around this level of understanding in a child.
When Vin Minkler, AIA, takes a break from his home office, he has been watching YouTube drawing lessons with his six-year-old daughter, Kelly. She has produced quite the volume of artwork since then! No only is Vin loving this “daddy-daughter time” but he is also seeing a big improvement in skill and concentration level. While Kelly and Vin have always shared creative fun together, they have never before had this kind of consistent opportunity to focus on a new skill. What a treasure!
Little girls are not the only ones sharing a creativity lesson with their parents and grandparents. Aric Gitomer, AIA, and his college senior daughter, Adina, are exercising their skills in the kitchen while she is finishing the school year at home. Aric’s daughter is a vegan and so having her home full time is giving Aric the opportunity to stretch his culinary skills in a new direction. Homemade pizza, vegan “chicken” cutlets and fresh bagels were the warm-up for their ultimate kitchen adventure: hand-rolled Israeli couscous, a recipe taught to Aric by a couple in Brooklyn. Aric and Adina are making each other happy while enjoying a wonderful, bonding experience, something that many families with teens fail to find. What a silver lining!

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Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

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