Mateo Manuel Vela
University of Colorado Boulder - 2022
Increase access to arts education in low-income communities.
Project: In order to address the lack of arts education in Denver Public Schools, I propose a writing retreat for youth of color in collaboration with community organizations working to increase access to arts education in low-income communities. The program would include writing workshops based on issues faced by students of color, including topics such as poverty and racism, as well as performance and mentorship opportunities through open mics and writing circles.
Inspiration: My personal experience as an alumni of Denver’s youth slam poetry team, Minor Disturbance, inspired me to choose my Puksta project. Spoken word has greatly impacted my life, and I feel it is important that students of color are able to engage this art form.
Future Plans for Project: I hope to accomplish the following from my retreat: a more connected network of youth poets of color in Denver, a safe space for youth of color to articulate their experiences in the current political climate, and the opportunity for students to be connected to the community resources to hone their craft upon returning home.