Editor’s Note: The following blog post was written by our student, Brian Andrade, a poet, photographer, and entertainment journalist who has is part of our original cohort of DSTL Arts students. His first mentoring session occurred in February, 2013, and now, he shares his thoughts about being a DSTL Arts student for the past two years.
Being a DSTL Arts student for two years now has impacted my transition from a timid artist, to a writer and creator proud to do what he does. What this program has given me a platform to pursue writing with confidence.
Before coming into DSTL Arts, I had no community of writers in which to engage with. I was discouraged to write since I was under the impression that there was no general interest in reading or hope that writing would be a pathway to success. However, the relationships I’ve gained with my mentors and other students has proved otherwise. We are a community of creators, interested in documenting life as well as uncovering it. The program has taught me that new art is still being created and that there are opportunities in the creative economy.
As a result of being a student, I’ve written and composed chapbooks that feature fiction, poetry, and photography. In addition, these books have sold at different bookstores in the Los Angeles area as well as local events. I have also had the opportunity to read my work in a public setting. The resources offered at DSTL Arts have taught me how to be both a creator and an entrepreneur in publicizing my work.
These past two years are a time mark exhibiting a personal growth. I have to thank Luis and Jen for their endless compassion, enthusiasm, and kindness. It’s powerful to be part of a group of committed artists. That power as a writer now resonates through me and I couldn’t be more grateful. This experience has given me confidence that there is a future for artists. DSTL Arts is a space that gives students that are unrepresented the possibility and courage to make work with the capacities to impact many.
Visit our Arts Mentorship Program page to learn more about how we train the next generation of Los Angeles’ Creative Economy. To support the development of our youth, consider donating to our program. All donations are tax-deductible.