Lorena* is delighted to be a part of the Digital and Media Arts Program at LAYC, held in our Teen Center, a dynamic space that hosts an array of after-school programming, including academic tutoring, leadership, recreation, and art and media classes.

Lorena has been a part of LAYC’s Art + Media programs for four years. Born and raised in Washington, DC, she began coming to LAYC as a 14-year-old Banneker High School student, when she was first assigned to complete community service at the Teen Center. Staff soon discovered she was very creative and had a passion for art, so they encouraged her to enroll in our music production class. During the class, Lorena was inspired by her music production instructor to express herself regarding personal and social issues. Furthermore, the music production instructor, a working artist, inspired her to consider a career that would enable her to express herself creatively.

Lorena is now a senior in high school, soon to graduate from Benjamin Banneker High School’s International Baccalaureate program. She is busy applying to colleges and preparing her artistic portfolio for consideration by art programs. The centerpiece of her portfolio is a poster she designed this past summer as a part of LAYC’s Digital and Media Arts program’s graphic design track, in which students created a series of posters that will be installed on WMATA trains and buses to inspire riders to spend time outdoors and explore parks in the metro area. To create her poster, Lorena learned how to use Adobe software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The National Park Service, a program partner, has approved her design, along with the designs of other program participants, and their posters will be installed in spring 2018. Lorena found the process of collaborating with a client—the National Park Service—both challenging and educational, observing, “I usually like working on my own, but when you are designing something for someone else there is a push and pull.” She added, “The critiques with the National Park Service allowed me to share my ideas, but also gave me feedback and made me make adjustments to the design.”

Lorena is now participating in LAYC’s computer illustration course and is discovering that she likes working with the digital drawing pad, which allows her to develop and display her visual arts skills in a digital format. Recently, she informed us that she has been accepted to three colleges and will be the first in her family to attend college. Lorena is excited about going away to college next year and realizing her dream of becoming a designer and illustrator, which was largely inspired by her participation in LAYC’s Digital and Media Arts Program.

* Name changed for privacy

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