By Kelliann Wright (Music MFA2), Voice Program
Kelliann Wright (Music MFA2) teaches a CAP class at West Creek Academy
I’m very appreciative of the thoughtfulness of the CalArts community, because without their support, I wouldn’t be able to complete my studies at CalArts this January, and graduate in May. Besides the CalArts community’s support of the Institute and scholarships, I’m also grateful for the Community Arts Partnership (CAP) program .
Without Scholarship Support, I Wouldn’t Be an Artist–and I Wouldn’t Be at CalArts
When I made the decision to attend graduate school, I was drawn to CalArts’ unique interdisciplinary program. I wanted to belong to a community in which I could prosper and grow as an artist, and I decided that if I was going to do it, I was going to do it big. I knew CalArts was the place for me, and I did not apply anywhere else. CalArts has proven to be a great fit as I continue to build a valuable network for my career.
Without the financial aid I’ve received, I wouldn’t be able to study here–I would most likely be struggling to develop a career in my hometown, without the essential training and support system that I value so much at CalArts.
CAP Has Expanded My Outlook
When I first came to CalArts, I really only had performance on my mind as a career in music. I have so much passion for sharing my voice with an audience, and my main goal was to train my instrument and gain more confidence as a performer through my studies. I had considered teaching as well, but mostly as a means to pay the bills.
After I became a CAP instructor, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a whole new side of myself as an artist. I realized that I love teaching–maybe just as much as I enjoy performing! I didn’t know that I had the capacity to be a great teacher. In fact, at first I was horrified to stand in front of a big classroom full of children. Now, it’s second nature to me.
In Addition to Discovering the Pure Joy of Teaching Through the CAP Program, the CAP Income I Earn Helps with Living Expenses
Although CalArts’ scholarship and grant enabled me to attend CalArts, I still had difficulty surviving month-to-month. Living in the L.A. area is very expensive.
The income I receive as a CAP student instructor is crucial for me to live on–without it, I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent. I didn’t realize I would depend on CAP so much financially. It really saved me, and will help ensure that I am able to complete my studies and graduate.
My Happiest Days Are the Days I Teach at CAP
Working with CAP students has enlivened both my art and my everyday life. To see the growth these students experience vocally and in their level of self-confidence is a magical experience.
I love seeing the smiles on their faces, and being able to make a difference. I teach kindergarten through third grade, and it’s a rewarding experience to witness creative talents blossoming with so much excitement.
I’ve Grown as an Artist—and Believe Strongly that Arts Education is Important for Youth
My experience with CAP has allowed me to grow within my own environment—I’ve learned a lot about who I am as an artist through my teaching. Having had this opportunity is also very valuable for my resumé.
Growing up, it was the norm to have music classes in public schools, but I know that in recent years, arts education continues to be cut from school programs. It’s very unfortunate that many children don’t have the opportunity to experience something so crucial in their education.
I feel blessed to play a part in keeping music education alive, and to perform a service for the youth I work with, and in essence, the world at large.
Passionate to Help Others
I love sharing this experience with so many talented CAP student instructors who want to help the community. Too often, as artists, it’s easy to become wrapped up exclusively in one’s own work.
I’m grateful to the CAP office for this opportunity. It all began when I substituted for a friend more than a year ago, and once I’ve completed my course work in December, I’ll continue teaching in the CAP program through my graduation in May.