I’m proud to sit on the Advisory Board for the BxArts Factory, because the arts have played such a major role in my life.
I grew up in a place, and at a time where segregation in schooling was a reality. The elementary school I attended was a mix of mainly black, Native American, and Mexican American, with a few lower income whites. The teachers were all white, and most seemed much more concerned with disciplining children, rather than teaching them. Students were often yelled at and even beaten.
I had a hard time reading, which I found out later was the result of dyslexia. This often led to embarrassment in class, which I tried to cover up, like most kids, by being a class clown. My teachers didn’t see that I was struggling, but chalked it up to me being 'stupid' and undisciplined. So, I was yelled at, and at times beaten.
By the time I reached Junior High, my self-esteem was very low, and I wanted to drop out of school. I got in fights, and even joined a gang for short time. But then something amazing happened, I took my first art class, and my teacher saw real talent in the pictures I drew, and painted. They were often of bleak winter scenes, and people with arms and legs balled up and confused. She found something very expressive in them, and would ask me about what they meant. Eventually, she inspired me to paint happier pictures. I even ended up making a green, red poke-a-dot, paper mache' dragon, that she put on display.
Art gave me a voice that I didn’t have before; It opened a door inside me that I didn’t even know existed. For the first time, I had a teacher who believed in my voice.
Not long after this, I taught myself to read. In high school, I went from hovering around the bottom of the class, to hovering around the top, which landed me an acceptance into a good college.
Art, and a good teacher of art, changed my life.
So, now I do what can to share the arts with others, whether it is the visual arts, or literary arts. The BxArts Factory is all about doing this, and that is why I’m involved with them. I’m proud to sit on the Advisory Board for the BxArts Factory, because the arts have played such a major role in my life.
Bringing Art to Every Household.