Building Together: Creativity Scholars on Community

Social change is recognizing the challenges people face from all walks of life and doing something about it. The 2016 Adobe Creativity Scholars push society forward by creating art to bring marginalized communities to the forefront. The issues they are passionate about range from human rights, the environment, inclusion, mental health, race and identity, to gender equality. Today, the final installment of our 7-part series, Creativity Scholars come together to build community. These emerging creatives look to their neighbors and classmates to offer hope, self-expression and connection – urging us to reflect upon the stories from our own backyards.

“Being a young woman of color, I have built my professional and creative life around this passion that all people deserve to have a place to be heard.”- Kitzia Rodriguez-Gonzalez

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Gabriella Huggins, 22 (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA)

Why would you care about LGBT rights if you’re not a lesbian? This is the opening question in Gabriella’s film, Even Handed which leads to the broader exploration of the relationship of rights and community. Screened at a TEDxParkCity, the film speaks of consumerism and self-indulgence as a mechanism that blinds society to the struggles of those around them. She encourages youth to speak out and take responsibility for creating the future they wish to see. “I believe community organizing is one of the most creative ways of instigating change.”

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Raymond Carela, 18 (Lynn, Massachusetts, USA)

Commissioned by a nonprofit organization, Raymond painted the mural Looking Straight Ahead to inspire former inmates to imagine a different destiny. He depicts images of gray men with sullen faces standing behind a colorful, confident man exhibiting the path to an inviting cityscape. Raymond contrasts the past with the future and hopelessness with optimism. “While painting this piece I envisioned myself helping these men to get a better life. I think that the artwork that my team and I create is the start of a positive change for my city.”

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Daymian Mejia, 19 (Lynn, Massachusetts, USA)

Daymian directed, narrated and edited his video, Viva La Luz, an ode to his memories of growing up in Boston. Using staggered images, he reminisces about his home, neighborhood, local street art, and hanging out with friends. Daymian’s work celebrates his connection to the community he calls home. “Where I grew up is my favorite place, I’ve been gone for so long that no one remembers me except for those who’ve stayed shining in my eyes….Boston you are my Northern light.”

Kitzia Rodriguez-Gonzalez, 20 (Orem, Utah, USA)

A very young, soft-spoken boy came to Open Mic night, relying on his big sister to speak on his behalf before daring to step into the recording studio. In Kitzia’s role as a peer mentor in sound engineering, she connected with the bashful boy about their shared favorite artist. The boy relaxed and recorded Lovestruck on the first take, bringing the audio staff to tears. “Creatively collaborating with all different kinds of people has taught me that having a safe creative space for your work is very important; without these platforms, social change is impossible because no one is telling or hearing these stories.”

Lead Photo courtesy of @illgander