“I want to be an astronaut or an astronaut,” she declares with complete certainty. Somali is just a few days away from embarking on a new and very exciting journey. She’s starting high school. However, she’s not going to the local public high school in her neighborhood. Somali is going to the Dublin School, a competitive boarding school in New Hampshire that strives to awaken a curiosity for knowledge and a passion for learning in their students. She is courageously leaving her nest to ignite a career in science.
Two years ago, after searching for a while, almost serendipitously, Somali’s mother found ProjectArt and placed Somali in our program. We helped draw out Somali’s natural talent and love of art – and it was this love of art, combined with her passion for science, which brought her to the Dublin School. ProjectArt was more than just about painting for Somali, having to learn to speak about her intentions and ideas, helped with her public speaking skills, so she could find a voice and create her own story which she utilized to rally student voters during her school election.
Somali values her time doing art as it has allowed her to become much more focused, serene and detailed-oriented individual. And of course, significantly more confident person in herself, in setting goals and what she believes she can achieve. She is particularly proud of her art skills when in come to drawing eyes: “My eyes are the best. I like to draw eyes because I like how just by looking at someone’s eyes you can tell what their facial expression is and if you look really deep into someone’s eyes you can tell what they are feeling, even if they may or may not be lying to you.”
Somali is enthusiastic and expressive as she talks about her dreams and aspirations.
You don’t need to look deep into her eyes to know that she’s created a path for herself – one that is determined, yet beautifully balanced.
When Malikye’s mother first enrolled him in ProjectArt her main goal was to try to help him overcome the physical disability of his hands. Through painting and sculpting, art not only healed Malikye’s hands—he was able to gain full functionality. And unbeknownst to him when we started, he discovered that he had a hidden talent for painting—something which surprised us all, even his mom.
Malikye had taken art classes before ProjectArt, but there was something about the program that just clicked. After taking a few classes with us, it all made sense to him, and something became obvious: he realized he could create beautiful objects with his artistic skills. As an early ProjectArt student, we mentored him one-on-one and challenged Malikye to think differently about himself and his relationship to art. Slowly but surely, we drew out Malikye’s hidden abilities and provided the space and time where he could explore and embrace this creative side despite the veil of his reserved and soft-spoken demeanor. And as he shows you his portfolio – his jaw-droppingly beautiful art speaks for itself. Art is his chosen form of expression. From his work you get to see a whole new side of him that you very likely would never know existed.
Malikye says he grew exponentially from his first ProjectArt exhibition—a room full of people from all walks of life had come to the gallery to see his work. He felt a sense of pride that he had never felt before and began to believe in his abilities as an artist. We also helped him put together a portfolio, which was quite useful in getting an interview, and later admission to the High School of Art and Design in NYC. As Malikye begins his senior year of high school, he is considering various competitive art colleges where can take his art to the next level.
“I love art because it is creative and helps you explore accutane buy your mind. There is so much that we don’t know about ourselves that we can learn through new experiences with art. I have learned things about myself that I didn’t know before.” Fernando shared.
Fernando had his very first art exhibit at the age of four at his daycare center – and that experience set the tone to seek out ProjectArt a few years later. When he was four, the people at his daycare center were so impressed with Fernando’s rendition of a lion that they made copies and hung them on every door. When Maria, Fernando’s mother, arrived to pick him up from the center they called her over and said “come… come and see what he drew!” Though shy and humble, Fernando chooses to express himself through his handiwork – it has led him to acclaim and being part of two exhibitions at ProjectArt.
Fernando began taking classes at ProjectArt after his sister learned about the program from the NY1 News segment from a while ago. Fernando’s family wanted to put him in a program where he could develop his skills but were limited due to finances – naturally ProjectArt was the perfect option since our classes are completely free. Living in Staten Island, Fernando took the ferry and attended class every day last summer at our location in Harlem.
At ProjectArt, Fernando developed his talent and found his twin passions – abstract art and architecture! We can’t wait to see how his talents are going to evolve and –maybe combine one day. Furthermore, having attended our classes for over a year, Fernando has worked on and greatly improved his technical and critical knowledge of art. He has a great vision: to be a great architect and design the best structure and design. From our conversation with him – he has every intention of going to architecture school and designing habitable structures of our future.
Fernando is just starting high school, but he seems quite mature and determined. When he is an accomplished architect Fernando and his family will think back to the numerous art exhibits he had with Project Art, but his mother will never forget that first exhibit he had at age four.
On a Sunday afternoon, we caught up with Blanca and Victoria. Blanca’s mother Victoria sells flowers seven days a week at a local deli just around the corner from where we hold our classes in Harlem, at the 145th street branch of the New York Public Library.
Victoria migrated from Guerrero, Mexico twelve years ago determined to find a better future and greater opportunities for herself and her family. When Victoria was just eight years old living in Mexico, she had to work to support her family and was not able to receive an adequate education. She did not want the same life for her children and her children’s children and was determined change her likely destiny. She has faced tremendous hardship, but is driven to push forward for Blanca’s sake: “I would like for her to get her education, a future. I will support her, lord willing, with what I can. I want her to be someone is this world,” said Victoria.
We first met Blanca as she looked into our classroom at the public library in May, as we were wrapping up our Spring semester. We gave her information about our summer program and invited her to join us. Of course, paying for the art class was one less thing she needed to worry about because our classes are completely free!
Blanca has a beautiful smile, is shy and soft-spoken. Blanca looks forward to a ProjectArt class every week, where she has made new friends and strides in discovering herself through her artistic expression. It goes without saying, we love her and her energy.
Blanca wants to be the Principal of a school one day. She really looks up to her teachers and particularly admires her Principal. As she continues her involvement with Project Art, we are looking forward to working with Blanca in building her confidence and letting her discover her passion so that one day she can become the principle, teacher, dean, or professor. We believe the sky is the limit.