As summer approaches and we begin planning for camp, our Mentor Extraordinaire Frank Fuentes has offered to share his thoughts on what he has gained working the past three summers at our Lewis Arts Academy. After graduating from DASH, Frank has successfully completed his first year studying architecture at Syracuse University. Over the years, Frank has become an invaluable member of the Lewis Arts Academy team, acting as role model and assistant to our intensive visual arts program.
From Frank: I can remember the moment as I opened the envelope containing the letter of acceptance to study at Design and Architecture Senior High(DASH). In that moment I reached a level of euphoria that not many people ever truly experience until late into their life after a high achievement. I was sure not to let this educational opportunity slip by, and so I gave it my absolute best effort as a freshman and was so granted an opportunity to be a part a new nonprofit art program which believed in the same ideas as I did. Arts for Learning (A4L) believed in granting unprivileged students a free summer program to enhance their art abilities to hopefully, improve their future by attending an art magnet school and later college.
Upon accepting the internship, it was an opportunity I could not pass down, and it was one that I could not ever forget. For the past 3 summers, I have come back again and again to cherish the moments of mentoring students in a field of study of which I fell in love with, art. I believed each day that I could improve the quality of life of each student there just ever so slightly through art.
You see, art was the vehicle that allowed me to take each student and help them reach a level of enlightenment, a higher level of thinking. Art is a very powerful subject. One that is very difficult to contain and it has incredible positive effects. At least in my case, I was granted an opportunity to influence, and inspire students to believe in themselves, to believe in their own artistic abilities and to do something with themselves for the future. I believed each student was creative and we, as a team had to help them develop their creativity and push their drawing and painting abilities to a higher level. By doing this, at the end of the month-long program – the students realize how productive they have been, they realize how successful they can be, and realize what a wonderful program A4L really is.
The students at A4L have an incredible opportunity to do absolutely amazing artwork, given the illustrious faculty, and I can’t wait to be a part of it again this July!