THERE IS A RADIANCE to Jess Yurwitz.  A comfort and a positivity that, when you have been warmed by it, stays with you. 

She is an artist and a teacher with over 30 years of experience in alternative schools.  But when we met five years ago, and began walking our dogs together, she had just left her position as a high school principal and was looking for something new.  She wanted to create a space where adults could come together, open up, and push past the things that hold them back; the things that hold us all back.  A place to create, try, laugh, and just be.  (And, of course, share her warmth and everlasting radiance.)  She did.  In 2019 Slow River Studios adult art school opened in a lovely studio space on Eastern Avenue in Essex, just across the way from Greenbelt’s Cox Reservation where Sharon Pacione worked — and saw a possibility.

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Kris McGinn writes features and columns on local life around Cape Ann. In 2020 she won two national writing awards from the National Newspaper Association. She can be reached at kris@thecricket.com.