Growing up, I thought the only combo better than peanut butter and jelly was a pen and paper. I have always had an affinity for writing and using it as a tool and an art form. However, I didn’t see my writing as a talent until I started writing poetry, performing in open mics, and participating in talent shows. Once I discovered my immense passion for poetry, I knew I had to reach out and get others involved in their own talents. When I first started writing, I saw poetry as my salvation. It introduced me to new people, new experiences, and taught me that life exists beyond the L train. This post is about how you can use your talent to help others see that their life can change, as well as how to use your talent to help your community.
Looking for people with the same affinity for using their talents to help others, I found Victoria (also known as Vee) Rossi, a 20 year-old photographer/college student.
“I started doing photography after my aunt passed away my senior year of high school. She used to own a photo lab in Barrington, Rhode Island and was the relative who always had her hand attached the camera at any family function. She loved looking through pictures, collecting pictures, taking pictures, and I guess I picked that up from her after she passed away, sort of paying homage to her. I do photography because I love creating things and I especially love creating images and having the capability of manipulating emotions and making people feel one way or another or see something or realize what they haven’t seen. Some of my favorite things or people to photograph are the dancers in my mom’s dance studio in Cranston, Rhode Island. Not only are they brilliantly talented but they’re willing to push limits photographically and also in the areas of dance. It’s always nice to photograph them also because they’re so eager to create something beautiful. I help them and they help me. I also will go to the dance competitions and photograph them while they’re in their prime competing because that’s when you really see the intensity. I not only see photography as an emotional outlet, but also as a possibility to make a career. They always say that you should do something that you love and something that makes you happy, and I think that I may have found that for me.”
Here are some recent photos Victoria has taken of her mother’s students:
Victoria has also done shoots for her school, Simmons College, and some of their drama productions including The Vagina Monologues. From first position to on pointe, the dancers and their art are captured via Victoria’s own art.
Now that you’ve seen how Victoria gives back to her community, here are some ways that you can help your community with your talents:
Host an Art Show:
If you are an artist, painter, sculptor, metalworker, etc., go to your local YMCA, community center, or even a friend’s back yard and host an art show. You can sell your art by donation or fixed prices, or you can even just have your art on show for viewing and charge a small admission fee. Then, the proceeds can go to your local YMCA, city program, etc.
Have an Open Mic:
Taking the same idea as the art show, you can find a space to have poets, singers, musicians, and even actors come and perform. You can sell drinks or charge a small admission fee and raise money that way.
Get some friends, and direct a small play in the neighborhood:
Gather your actor, musician, dancer friends, and host a play or opera, or even a concert!
Is a local business or store you frequent looking a little dusty?:
If you have a way with the paintbrushes or even organizing, offer your services in exchange for promotion of your talent!
All of these are inexpensive and help in many ways. They help you meet more talented people, polish skills as well as gain new ones, and most importantly, they help the community.
Now that you’ve read about how to get involved, go out and do it! Here’s a great coupon for art supplies! Click HERE for a printable version!
Joanne, Simmons College ’15. Read my personal blog!
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