News // August 10, 2015
BY: JXTA

hawwa4Co-instructor for Visual Art Literacy Training (VALT) Hawwa Youngmark, started with JXTA in the winter of 2013. After a year in the Contemporary and Public Art Studio, she was asked by lead instructor Drew Peterson to co-teach the JXTA introductory program. As the curator for the upcoming ARCHIVE exhibition on August 13, Hawwa takes a moment to describe why still life and self-portraits are important techniques in observational drawing and in art appreciation, how it brings out creative personalities, and why she loves teaching now. 

On still life as a path to self-portraiture

Self-portraits are our favorite assignment in the VALT program. From the start of each session, most of the young people that come into VALT want to learn how to draw realism in terms of the human figure and face. When we build up to self-portraiture, we cover all the basics first, including the fundamentals of how to draw observationally. Still life exercises teach them how to observe line, value and composition. All of those are key components to creating a portrait. The VALTers become really excited at this point in our curriculum. This can be a challenge for them, yet they push through this task and what they produce always turn out great.

On highlighting your identity

Creating a self-portrait isn’t just showing what you look like physically – you could easily take a photograph of yourself if you want to accomplish that. Instead, a self-portrait is a window into who you are. With that in mind, when you’re looking at your blank page, its important to identify and highlight what you want people to see about you, because that’s what is going to show up on paper.

Five things to keep in mind when you draw yourself

  1. hawwafilmroll3Know your intention of how you want to display yourself to the world. Preferably, all portraits are better done with a mirror because you are interacting with yourself live, instead of through photography which is a pre-made barrier.
  2. Add something unique to yourself or your setting that you’ll enjoy drawing.
  3. Be patient with your work. Don’t be afraid to go back and redo a particular element or area of your face.
  4. Be extremely observant. You should get into the habit of measuring everything by marking a feature.
  5. Be observational and critical, but don’t worry if what you draw doesn’t look exactly like you – there’s always stylized self-portraits that go outside of realism.

On appreciating art & culture through the experience of self-portraiture

Self-portraits are also a way to observe and understand all types of art. As VALTers learn, these drawings are so detailed and call for so much attention. That attention makes you appreciate other people’s art. If I could take any class, it’d be an art class about portraiture, specifically an art history class studying different portraiture forms of different geographies. In Morocco for example, I learned of a tradition where when someone passes, they’ll paint a likeness of them on a plank of wood. It is hung in the home where people can view it and a way to keep their spirit around. And that’s a form of portraiture. Overall, I get excited about the history and contemporary forms of portraits in general.

On ARCHIVE: The VALT legacy exhibition

The first day of VALT in the spring, day before, we had to organize all the work so that we could show samples to the class. I was blown away by such good work we had, specifically self-portraits and still life drawings. I started setting aside a pile of ones that I would put in a show. Then I thought, “why not actually have a show?” Its an exhibition to show off hidden VALT. My favorite thing about teaching is watching the participants create work that is so phenomenal. It is above and beyond average. So we’re putting the work and craft of our current students including alumni, in our formal gallery, which I find heightens the importance of the work.

Make plans to attend this exhibit at our Emerson Gallery, on Thursday, August 13, 2015, from 5:30pm-8pm. RSVP on Facebook.

News // July 31, 2015
BY: JXTA

The energy that emanates from FLOW seems to get greater each year that it takes place on and near West Broadway in North Minneapolis.

The annual art crawl originally started out as a small but burgeoning showcase of Northside creatives, initiated by the Northside Achievement Zone. Now 10 years later and tipping the scale at over 200 featured visual and performing artists this summer, FLOW continues to grow in community attendance and participation since its 2006 debut. As an homage to the 10 year anniversary of FLOW, we’re sharing ten highlights from the 3-days of dynamic artistic exchange and community engagement, including some of the special moments from JXTA.

/ 1 Traditional Hmong performance art

Iny Asian Dance Theater's "Longing for Qeej."

The Koom Siab Block Party, presented by Asian Media Access, showcased Iny Asian Dance Theater‘s dance drama “Longing for Qeej.” On Plymouth Ave, the street became the stage for bright flashes of public contemporary dance and Hip-Hop performances. Neighbors and residents got a front row seat to waves of music and dance outside the doors of their home.

/ 2 JXTA VALT studio’s make-your-own masterpiece workshop

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Visitors to the VALT studio participated in a hands-on drawing lesson centered on two foundational drawing techniques all VALTers learn. Instructors Drew and Hawwa conducted the workshop in 1108 space for charcoal self-portrait drawings and Notan paper cut-outs, engaging resident artists from all spectrums and levels.

/ 3 Ice cream cones with rainbow sprinkles 

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Hands down, Emerge provided the best way to cool down on Emerson avenue, with youth employees scooping out ice cream cones and cups for $1 a pop. The non-profit continues to amp up their efforts to support youth and adults seeking employment – in 2014, 120 young people were placed in jobs.

/ 4 Northside artists show and tell 

Kayla Baribeau

Artist Kayla Baribeau.

 

The space at Homewood Studios was opened up by director George Roberts in an effort to host a conversation between the FLOW postcard artists. The circle formed by the artists and community members heard the artists’ feedback on how their artistic philosophy has been shaped and continues to shift based on their surroundings, experiences and passion.

/ 5 Barbershop art

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We usually connotate the barbershop as being that focal point where men can spark up animated conversations and catch up on the latest news in the community while getting a line-up. What was cool to learn and see about World Class Barbers on Broadway Avenue is that it is woman-owned and featured local artists with work that showcased Black beauty in all of it’s glorious, dual-gendered, multi-facetedness. Plus, we felt right at home swiveling in those seats.

/ 6 Speaking up on equity in the Twin Cities

Photo courtesy of D.A. Bullock.

As participants of the Creative CityMaking: New Artist-City Collaborations, artists D.A. Bullock and Ariah Fine (pictured far right) brought out a podium, recorder and set the camera to record. They asked passersby to speak their mind on issues related to equity and policy in the Twin Cities – issues that affect each individual personally and on a community level. The voices highlighted will feed into the artists’ contribution to the larger work and strategy around the Blueprint for Equitable Engagement project.

/ 7 Pop-up boutiques with photos and musical vibes

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We didn’t catch the fashion show, but we did grab some great deals on cute dresses and scarves from the Romantic Bohemian at the NEON pop-up boutique. Their newly acquired space, previously the Hennepin County West Broadway office, was set up for independent sellers, craftsmen and women, and designers for all things fashion and beauty.

/ 8 On the spot screen-printed take-home posters from the Welukea Group artist collective

2015flow2“The Welukea Group does not exclusively aim to draw attention to the vacant and unused spaces along the Broadway business district in North Minneapolis, but additively aspires to interrupt the predetermined narratives that currently surround these spaces.” Enough said, but we’ll add that the JXTA Public Art Studio’s newest exhibit made waves by inspiring critical thought and discourse on social dynamics and taboo topics through photography, artifact and aerosol composition.

 / 9 Ballet plies and Contemporary dance mash-upping

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The newly updated Les Jolies Petites School of Dance made real the phrase, “dance is life.” The studio teemed with young people, parents and friends who took part in group dance and basic ballet demos. Directors Danyale Potts and Dr. Sharon Cook bring to their practice, their experience ranging from training in ballet, modern and African dance, plus instruction from the world-renowned Alivin Ailey American Dance Theater. Their goal? That “people from all walks of life would be blessed by what they see, feel and hear.”

/ 10 Elder Naima Richmond

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If you haven’t met Naima yet, you’re going to need to – and soon. Set up in the Plymouth Ave Art Studio for the art crawl, poet, author, writer and resident, Richmond’s array of children books and illustrations are as sincere and bright as her smile and aura. Her favorite work, “Beautiful Brown Snowlady,” is a book that you should add to your library. Why? According to Richmond, “Because everyone needs to read the book about the first and only brown snowlady.” Simple, plain and real.

Find more images of the FLOW on our Facebook page, and more press-related links at City Pages, the Star Tribune, & Minnesota Public Radio News

News // July 13, 2015
BY: JXTA

Construction is currently underway for JXTA’s new Community Design Studio and Fabrication Lab. fablabconstructionoutside copy

Sited on the intersection of West Broadway and Emerson in North Minneapolis, the 1102 space formerly functioned as the offices of the former owners Jim Ronning and Ed Gearty, as well as a woodwork shop for client and in-house projects.  The building renovation was made possible by grants from ArtPlace America and West Broadway Area Coalition. When complete the building will house our Environmental Design Studio and fabrication space where apprentices will work with adult designers and organizers on projects that make public spaces more beautiful, functional, and accessible.

Enviro Design Studio instructor Sam Ero-Phillips served as the lead designer for the 1102 renovation. North Minneapolis-based firm Mobilize Design & Architecture served as the architect of record for this project, and Sam was given the opportunity to use the hours on the project to put towards his hours needed to complete his goal of becoming a registered architect in the state of Minnesota.

Sam explains, “When I first started teaching in the Enviro Lab in 2012 we moved around the campus. There was no permanent space where we could spread out and make work.” Because of the program’s expansion and a growing number of both youth employed through the studio and the demand from clients, Sam’s main concerns included providing seating for up to 12 people and a space to work collaboratively and an area for displaying drawings and blueprints and more.

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Future home of the Enviro Design Studio work and learning space.

 

Additionally, the redesigned 1102 building will be a space for JXTA’s newest collaborative lab, Tactical Urbanism, and also house the Fabrication Lab, an area portioned out for the improved and more functional wood shop. Under the guidance of instructors, apprentices will learn how to produce test models and final products for both lab assignments and client work.

“Two cool things about this project are that there are two labs in one space and it’s a design and build firm run and powered by youth that serves the needs of the community.” Sam says in regards to the community aspects of the renovation project. “We’ve been around for a while and with this project, we’re adding visibility and availability to the neighborhood at large here. Being on the ground floor allows us street presence. As people are walking by or waiting for the bus, they can look in and see our work on the wall and see apprentices working. I think that is going to increase our ability to market and provide our design services for people in the community by being this visible. We want you to come walk in and engage with us. We’re providing accessibility to design.”

The renovation began in February of 2015 and is expected to be completed by mid-July/early August. Come for the soft opening of it at the 2015 FLOW on Saturday, July 25th.

News // July 12, 2015
BY: JXTA

Imagine building your dream neighborhood or the city you’ve always wanted to live in. What buildings would you create? What would they look like?

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“Inspiration comes from things you want to do, what you like to see and what you want to be around,” says Johnneta. From l-r: Dara, Johnneta and Alaja.

That premise was the fuel behind Niko Kubota’s winning project for the 2015 Creative City Challengemini_polis. Dreams and designs were collected and created from neighborhoods around Minneapolis, and the JXTA Environmental Design Studio was commissioned to rep North Minneapolis.

Dara Crawford, Alaja Harris and Johnneta Hughes were among the 12 apprentices assigned different areas of Northside to re-imagine, redesign & recreate, with the guidance of Enviro Studio instructors Sam and Coal. After hand drawing for approximately two weeks, they created scaled models then employed Sketch Up to use exact measurements for the final fabrication. Using a single word to describe the two month design process and Johnneta laughs and starts with the adjective ‘hectic.’

“We all designed our own buildings,” Dara says. “Mine had a restaurant and a movie theater at the bottom. The top part was housing, and I had outdoor seating and stuff like that.”

“And if we didn’t design our own building, we got buildings to redesign for North Minneapolis,” Alaja chimed in. “I did Cub Foods.” She and Johnneta worked together to create a new and improved version of the grocery building, adding unique elements like day-lighting and a sunroof to allow natural light to open up the space. “In Cub, we noticed that there are no windows on the sides or the front doors,” Johnneta explains. (Dara interjects with, “It’s like a big warehouse”). “With our redesign,” Johnnetta continues, “there’s more natural lighting and more windows, so you can see what’s going on outside. There’s a better seating area too.”

“I do like light,” Alaja adds as she describes the personal inspiration she used for the project. “My room is the lightest in my house.”

For Dara, the overarching feature of her design for mini_polis was combining living and recreational activities that made sense when they came together. “I think a unique aspect of mine is how it is mixed-use. My building has an atrium and a courtyard. It has a bunch of stuff and outdoor seating. And my roof is tight too.”

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mini_polis launch at the 2015 Northern Spark festival at the Minneapolis Convention Center lawn. Official photo from mini_polis (2015).

mini_polis project manager Niko approached JXTA after becoming more and more interested in working with the Enviro Studio. He would catch glimpses of the campus’ aesthetic while working nearby on West Broadway. “I was really intrigued by all the work going on physically at JXTA – a really exciting collage of color, design, and narrative.” The SocialSculpture team, a conglomeration of artists and Niko himself, hosted community building workshops with schools and non-profits around the city for neighbors to engage in building and making. The final designs of the city debuted at this year’s Northern Spark festival, installed in the front yard of the Minneapolis Convention Center.

As a synergistic whole, the three apprentices agreed that mini_polis was both a unique idea and an important installation to create. Dara started by making the observation that not many people could have come up with a project like this: “I liked the whole thought process and the idea to create a miniature Minneapolis, inside of Minneapolis. I also liked how it’s not just one person working on this but other groups of people too.”

The input factor too, of having a say in how your neighborhood looks and the amenities provided in it, resonated with Alaja and Johnneta.

Alaja: “I felt like I had a voice when I was working on this project.”

Johnneta: “You felt like you were being heard?”

Alaja: “Yeah. Because I’m pretty sure we weren’t the only ones that feel like Cub is just a box. So I feel like we’re putting in input from everybody.”

Johnneta: “I think [this project] taps into everybody’s inner creativity, for them to see what they want their neighborhood to be like. It makes you think about the community in the future. About how you can help change it, and make change happen. Make it happen.”

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mini_polis will be up through October 2015 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Make sure to visit it. And find more information about the installation on the official website.

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Canaan. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Canaan Ray-Strong

JXTA Lab/Studio: Contemporary Art  Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

My art teacher freshman year in high school. Since freshman year, I did VALT in the summer. I was in Textile before, but starting winter of this year I was in Contemporary.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

The freedom. You can actually work on the stuff you want to work on. You can actually do the things that you want to do, and you learn more about the art world.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

The show that we had. Cause I don’t think I had any pieces done the week of the show. So I worked at home and at school and here to get it all done. That was the first time my work has ever been displayed, so that was pretty dope. Other than printing my shirts that I designed myself, and then reprinting them and selling them, that was really cool. It was the skull with the headdress design.

Advice for a potential JXTA participant?

Participate in JXTA, but also look at different organizations for artistic teens in the Twin Cities because there are a lot. I know the Walker has some and also Intermedia Arts has some programs too, and just do as many programs as you can. I ended up doing a lot of Native American stuff, so I did the Indian Entrepreneurs and the Minnesota Indigenous Youth Freedom Project. We wrote grants and we did a community mural on Mother Earth Day for the Mother Earth Festival. 

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I want to go to school for entrepreneurship. I want to become a firefighter in the meantime, so I’m going to start taking classes for that. And I also want to be an artist, so we’ll see if it all works out. Hopefully it will.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Turquoise. Really cool. It’s a very calm, cool color. Whenever you think of something cool. It’s kinda nice and exciting but it’s really calm.

Which artist inspires you?

I’d say David Cho. I was really into him, we have similar creative processes and he sold a mural for Facebook stock. $100 million, at least.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Self – exploration. You can use art as a mirror and try to put whatever is inside of you outside. Just take your thoughts, like things that are very funny to you but don’t make sense, and put that out into space.

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

2015 hs grads plain PRINTTwelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation.

And we’re here to celebrate that accomplishment by recognizing their contributions with art & design in the community, based on their creativity and work at JXTA. To put it best, these apprentices put our philosophy of ‘learning by doing’ into real action.

Click on the photos to get to know a little about these talented individuals as they share different thoughts that include reflection on their own artistic development, what artists inspire them and what the importance of being an artist/designer/creative/maker is (and more!). Congrats to all of them!

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News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Alycia. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Alycia Rocque

JXTA Lab/Studio: Textiles and Screen Printing Lab

How did you first hear about JXTA?

I was in elementary school and JXTA came to my school and did a mural for us. Then a couple of kids were taken here for a fieldtrip. I was really interested in it and started taking classes when I was 10 years old. I have been working with JXTA for 7 years, with 5 years in the Textile Lab.

What’s the best thing about your lab?

I love it, its like a second home. It provides a lot of structure and its almost like second nature coming here. In my lab, I like that there is no one way to do anything. It is a technical process but you are expected to adapt it your own way and kind of run with it. There are different procedures and alternative ways to learn.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

I think the very first class I took here. It was basically VALT before VALT was a thing. I was the youngest person there, I was 10 and everyone else were seniors and juniors in high school. We had to do a critique of our pieces and stand up, and I remember being really self-conscious about my art. But the teacher I had, Peyton, really pushed me and I was really proud of myself, standing in front of these really advanced students and showing my work.

How have you engaged with North Minneapolis through JXTA?

I’ve attended many more art galleries in the community. Even if I can’t pay for anything, I think it helps for them to know that they have that support. Its good to know that people like what you’re doing and they want you to keep doing it.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

Now I’m going to college, study film. Hopefully I can get some projects done and make some films. I want to make films that have a bit more representation of different people – women, people of color, transgender people. I definitely want to come back here in the summertime and instruct. I feel like this place has given me a lot and I want to give that back.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

You’re making your art for you because that’s your contribution to society and the world and you should be able to stand behind it and be proud of it.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Aislinn. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Aislinn Mayfield

JXTA Lab/Studio: Contemporary Art 

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Through Step Up. I’ve been working with JXTA for about 3 years now and this past school year was my first school year working with JXTA. Before that I only worked during the summers.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

I like that even though for the most part each apprentice has their own focus in terms of what do they want to make, but at the end of it in general, we all have a good sense of togetherness and we can help build off of each other and collaborate. Like, we can easily get together and work on a commission piece and it won’t be a problem, no clash.

What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome recently?

My biggest challenge in the beginning was I wasn’t really confident in my artwork and I definitely didn’t give it a lot of time. I had to think on conceptually what I wanted to make or what I wanted to convey. That was the hardest thing because not only was it difficult for me to talk about what do I want to make, but to just talk about my work in general, because I never really spent the time developing it until I got here. As time went on, the encouragement and support of the other apprentices and my instructors helped me build off of that, so I’m better now.

Advice for a potential JXTA participant?

I would tell them to really listen to the tips that their instructors give them, and work as much as you can, even though you may feel like you don’t know how to do this or are afraid to try it. Just try it and don’t be afraid to work it out. As long as you take the time to develop a skill it doesn’t matter your skill level is when you start, when you devote time to it you can always grow.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

I’d pick purple. It’s just a beautiful color to me and I think that all of the people here, they’re beautiful. It’s like a cool color. Well, it has blue and red, warm, cool, I don’t know why. :)

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I was in an art exhibition for the Contemporary Art Studio, and that was pretty cool. I’ve never had that happen before, so I’m just excited about doing more stuff like that, getting my work out there so other people can see it. Currently I’m working with some friends, a few from JXTA and a couple outside of JXTA on making this social artist event for kids our age to just come out and connect with other artists, and try to get everybody to get to know each other and build that sense of artist community. Hopefully this can be an annual thing.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

You’re able to create something and no matter what you create, someone can interpret it without you having to say words about it.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Johnneta. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Johnneta Hughes

JXTA Lab/Studio: Enviro Design Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Through an internship through Step-Up. I’ve been with JXTA for a year and this is coming to my second summer.

What’s the best thing about your studio?

Learning how to build. I don’t like the design work too much, but learning how to build, I love it.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

Building a bike shed because it took a lot of hard work. We even worked out in the rain sometimes.

What’s one challenge that you’ve overcome recently?

My biggest challenge was working with Sketch Up online, and I hate using the computers. But it’s just something that you have to do and once you learn how to do it, it gets easier over time.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Red and orange. Warm and loving.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I will be going to college. I don’t know what I’m going to major in yet, I’m still undecided. I want to go to Augsburg or Macalester or Concordia.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

Being your own person, being you. Bring out your own creativity.

Read about another graduate!

News // July 8, 2015
BY: JXTA

Twelve apprentices at JXTA have reached that pivotal milestone in their lives: high school graduation. And we’re here to celebrate each one’s accomplishment. Learn more about Tenzin. #JXTAGraduates

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Full Name: Tenzin Jhanghup

JXTA Lab/Studio: Enviro Design Studio

How did you first hear about JXTA?

Through Step Up in the summer of 2013.

What’s the best thing about your lab?

We do designing online and then we actually build it. I like building, and I like sketching using Sketch-up because you get to use your own ideas.

Which artist inspires you?

My instructors Sam and Coal. I’ve been working with Sam for the longest but I also like Coal because she majored in landscape architecture so I look up to her and I ask her stuff and she helps me.

Experience at JXTA that you’re most proud of?

My first year here, I presented about this bike rack, and it got picked. It’s outside the Hennepin County Services Hub building. It was hard at first but I got used to it.

How have you engaged with North Minneapolis through your work?

Well I’m in Environmental design and I’m in Tactical, and in Tactical we go outside and we ask people what they want to see more of over Northside, or what they don’t like. So it has helped me with my communication skills with people. Working here has helped me know the real life the real world.

Which color would you choose to sum up your experience at JXTA and why?

Blue. It’s calm and you feel comfortable.

You’re a high school graduate now! Where do you want to go or do next?

I’m planning on going to MCTC for two years to take my generals and then I plan on transferring to the University of Minnesota for their art program or something, I don’t know yet. I want something that has to do with landscape architecture.

The most important thing about being an artist/designer/maker/creative is:

It’s important to love what you do, because if you’re not interested or if you’re not fully committed to it, you’re not going to present your best.

Read about another graduate!