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Limitless Visionaries

Created: 15 July, 2011
Updated: 20 April, 2022
4 min read

Youth art moving forward 

By Geneva Gámez Vallejo

Diana Viray, a senior at Lincoln High prepared for her opening performance at the Jacobs Center

    Art takes a step forward and brings light to the community. While teens piled by the thousands at Petco Park to audition for American Idol, Diana Viray, a senior at Lincoln High prepared for her opening performance at the Jacobs Center during their last showcase of “Limitless Visionaries: A Collective Mosaic of Youth Art.”

    The exhibition held from mid-June to mid-July included mixed media art by freshman through senior students from Lincoln and Morse High School, the School of Creative and Performing Arts, Gompers Preparatory Academy, and Crawford Multimedia and Visual Arts School with special performances held on the weekends at the Jacobs Center’s Center for Community and Cultural Arts gallery.

    Viray is one of the region’s talented students whose only dream is to overcome adversary, and follow a passion that comes out of reach to many during the state’s troubling economic cuts. With a fear that comes more often than not to students nowadays as signs of losing elective courses such as art, choir, etc. radar near, hope is held closer and stronger than ever.

    To some, hope is the pillar where motivation thrives. “I’m really sorry about that [educational budget cuts] because art motivates students who are in trouble, it’s a way to release stress” expressed Viray, whose younger brother and sister eagerly waited for her performance. She also commented on how her school —as are others— commonly carry a negative connotation to them by virtue of demographics, which is why she strives to prove a brighter side. “I feel if you participate in your school and in your community, it shows how much you care about it and yourself and it helps people see more than what they hear about. We [at Lincoln High] are trying to make a good image for ourselves” she explained.

    A feeling also shared by coordinator of Limitless Visionaries, Sherehe Hollins who expressed “…because our community is oftentimes prescribed as at-risk, disadvantaged, and undeserved, there is a negative stigma attached to those prescriptions. Often-times the youth internalize those prescriptions and don’t live up to their limitless potential. Even when the youth in southeast do live up to their potential oftentimes their genius is not recognized or celebrated by the larger community.” This is the reason why she created the exhibit, as she described, it was a “…way to affirm what the youth in southeast communities truly embody, and that is, brilliance, power, and love.”

    The show came to life with the collaboration of the Jacobs Center and fore-mentioned participating schools. Curator Rogelio Casas of Centro Cultural de la Raza and member of the Arts Advisory Council, along with Ms. Hollins chose the forty-four pieces of art at the gallery by working closely with the schools’ art programs and teachers. Because this is Jacobs Center’s first very own exhibition, you could tell it was carefully put together and heartwarming to the community. “We personally went to each school to choose the works,” said Casas “students were very happy and particularly proud to be in the exhibit.”

    Selected work included end of year projects created by students with somewhat of a similar theme. Some impressive black and white portraits were amongst the drawn and sketched pieces that stood out by students as young as fourteen years old. Others included mixed media sculptures in a glass display, photography, a wall dedicated to modern day activists and political figures, and paintings. Part of the art selection included live performances of student poets, musicians and singers.

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    “The purpose of Limitless Visionaries is to unify youth from different cultural backgrounds and neighborhoods in a collective celebration of their artistic genius and in recognition of a commonality they all share: the gift of creative expression” said Hollins. In their last performance event, Diana Viray caught the audience’s full attention with a sweet voice as she sang, “Blessed” by Christina Aguilera while her family clapped along with proud smiles on their faces in a crowd of some forty in the audience. As the exhibition drew close to its end, it felt as if even if there were no other reason than to capture that very moment of happiness in the students’ and their families’ eyes, the exhibit would be worth doing all over.

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