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Ana has been a fixture in HOLA’s Visual Arts Department since she first started coming to HOLA in the summer of 2006. Since then, she has been a student, an Artist in Residence and an intern. While she is very busy writing her senior thesis at Warren Wilson College, she recently took the time to sit down and answer some questions:

How has HOLA impacted your life?
HOLA offered me my first job – an assistant position in the Visual Arts Department. That job allowed me to establish a relationship with the youth at HOLA and other aspiring artists. My years at HOLA were an orientation to the visual arts realm, and the opportunities to join the student field trips and the access to HOLA’s art library nurtured my curiosity for life and art. But I think the most life changing action that HOLA has imparted on me was the offer to study at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina the summer after my first year in college. I was floored by the offer and the excitement that the opportunity brought, but I personally needed the assurance of both my biological family and my HOLA family to go on with the trip. The staff at HOLA was willing to meet with my family to discuss the logistics of this trip, and as I reflect on that meeting today I can say that HOLA gave me the courage to face the world outside of Macarthur park on my own.

What are you thinking about doing after you graduate?
I’m not sure yet, but I may find my way back to North Carolina in the fall to present on a collaboration with Spanish-speaking artisans in Asheville. While I am gripped with (and welcome!) the uncertainty of life after college, I know that I want to continue working in community building and outreach, and the arts after graduation. I’d like to teach in the long run, and graduate studies are not too far in the future.

Congratulations to you! Is there anything else you want to share?
Thanks and yes, I just wanted to thank HOLA for the opportunity to intern last summer. Through that experience I gained a spectrum of valuable skills. The internship was an empowering project because it made me reconsider my own life goals as an art student and member of the community. HOLA has given me a perspective and voice in the conversation of arts education and its importance for empowering youth. Even though I don’t “call home” to HOLA as often as I’d wish to, I’ve carried it on my mind and in my heart every day at Warren Wilson. Thank you for your help and words of encouragement last summer, and for the honor of working with HOLA’s amazing staff. The MANOS youth class, the after-school program that I’ve worked with for the past year and a half, would not have the same direction and vision that it has today thanks to the insight from the summer programing at HOLA. I’ve stayed up to date with HOLA through the website and flickr account and continue to be inspired by the great things that are going on.


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