Merging Art with Community.
By Kim Arango.
Visual and Environmental Studies: Studio Arts.
May 2020 .
Growing up in an Irish Catholic neighborhood in Boston, I had always felt separate from the community. There weren’t many Latinos around my neighborhood, and there weren’t that many at school. I had always enjoyed being creative as a child, whether it was through random scribbles of my visions or scribbles of thoughts I had. Yet, I had never truly pursued my creative passions before my senior year of high school. During my senior year of high school at Boston Latin School, I took Foundations to Visual Arts with a push from my guidance counselor to explore my creative side and try something I’ve never tried before. It was my guidance counselor and that class that changed everything for me.
I had never imagined myself going to Harvard, so when I did apply early action to Harvard, I was nervous and only confident in this notion I had that I wasn’t good enough to get into such a prestigious school. My guidance counselor backed me all the way the same way she backed my creative interests in art when many other people told me it was pointless. The December early action decisions came out, and I still remember the very moment that I saw that I was accepted to Harvard. I couldn’t laugh, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t move. I was stuck in awe that I had been able to achieve a seemingly impossible dream.
Coming to Harvard my freshman fall, I wanted to do all the things that I had before thought impossible. I was determined to find a community and I was determined to do art, I somehow ended up being able to do both. I currently study Studio Arts in our Visual and Environmental Studies department at Harvard, and wake up every day excited to go to class and excited to create what I imagine.
During my freshman year, I was the social chair for Fuerza Latina, Harvard’s Latinx cultural organization. There I found the Latino community that I had longed for. It was the first time that there were so many people who looked like me, talked like me, and had beat obstacles to achieve their dreams like me. My closest friends who I consider as family came from my involvement in the Latino community at Harvard. My freshman spring, I became Vice President for an organization called Presencia Latina which organizes Harvard’s annual and only showcase of Latino talent. With Presencia, our board was able to bring Alfonso Herrera to campus as our honored guest as well as organize a showcase with dancing, singing, and poetry from various Latino students and organizations on campus.
I’ve been blessed to be able to combine two of my biggest sources of happiness, the Latino community and art, through Presencia Latina. This year, as a sophomore, I am the director of Presencia Latina and have even bigger ambitions for our showcase. I have gained confidence and am comfortable of the idea that if I dream it and work for it, it will happen.
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