Collection 1 Children Books

Art helped me express emotions, build bridges and gave me a voice.

Community college exposed me to artists and activists whose ideas connected to my own. I thrived in Art and Chicano Studies growing social and political awareness. In July of 2023, I graduated with honors from San Diego City College earning my Associate of Arts, Studio Arts degree. I discovered that getting a BFA in illustration, especially at an art school, costs a lot of money. This was a big challenge and I needed a plan. I’m still taking classes part time at City College studying traditional oil and acrylic painting as well as life drawing. Determined to keep building a strong portfolio, I taught myself to make a website this Spring. Crafting a personal brand that communicates my style and who I am as an artist is a work in progress. I began to post my art on social media to try
to engage with people who might be interested in my art. A professor who was a practicing artist taught me how important it was to get my artwork in front of a larger audience. To network with people and opportunities, I challenged myself to enter juried shows and competitions. My work has been exhibited at the California Center for the Arts, Centro Cultural de la Raza, Nickelodeon Gallery and at the galleries at City, Mesa and Miramar College. Next I sent my work to organizations that focus on people with disabilities and to my surprise it got featured in magazines and online publications. I began to seek out scholarships and grants specifically aimed at supporting artists with disabilities. I started at my community college then expanded the search to see what was out there. Recently, I was named 1 of 15 Emerging Young Artists with disabilities for 2023/2024 by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. This experience had a
profound impact on my life fueling my dreams. Last Winter I became part of online workshops where I heard from working artists with disabilities who’ve made it in the art world. I also got to travel to D.C. this past February to attend professional development workshops. Our work was exhibited on Capitol Hill becoming part of a national traveling show and I deposited the scholarship directly into my college savings fund. This lifted my spirits and grew my confidence to reach my goals. I felt empowered to keep moving forward.

In a Kennedy Center online workshop, I learned about possible income streams and had the idea to professionally print and sell custom bookmarks, cards and posters to earn money for my BFA. I decided to highlight Chicano/Latino changemakers and trailblazers with disabilities on the bookmarks. Teachers at City College helped me make connections to gift shops at Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park and at public libraries. I began tosell art getting closer to my goals of starting a BFA and becoming a professional illustrator and working artist.

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