Student Insights

Excerpts from Creative Voices critical reflections.

Downtown Streets Team

And city blocks became a home...As we put our pieces in the windows of Sabor of Spain, people kept coming up and asking us if we were the artists who had created these murals. They didn't ask us if we were students or if we were homeless because, frankly, they didn't care. They didn't care where we came from or how we had come to be in this place, cleaning and papering the windows of Sabor of Spain, because at that point, all they saw when they looked at us was artists. And we were proud to tell them that, yes, we had worked together to create the work that graced the restaurants windows.
– Sophie Miller

Personal Reflection While Helping Others Grow

The purpose of this exercise was to engage with people in order to understand who they are as well as understand and respect our differences. I come from a different background from my class mates, but through the cutting and pasting, drawing and tracing we found common ground - compromising and accepting things we were not familiar with. Through conversation, we learned so much from each other, by just listening. At the final stage of project, it was evident the project embraced our different life experience. Standing outside of the store and looking at our work made us all feel so happy and proud of ourselves. I learned the true essence of respect as well as the importance of enriching others lives. It doesn’t only put a smile on people’s faces but it makes you a better person.
– Nontokozo Tshabalala

Art Reflects Ideas into Beautiful Expression

When we first started to create the Art pieces, I did not believe any of us thought it was going to make a difference in the community. But, through the planning, creating, and installing of the Art piece, we found that the Art made a difference within the community as a whole. The Art project not only helped build a community among each of us, but it helped reinforce the value of the community within the area. The Art project was able to breathe new life into the neighborhood, it was able to help with economic development, help with promoting the civic engagement, giving the community a sense of resiliency, and it also helped improve the quality of life for a part of the community as a whole, Art created life.
– Jennifer Chappell

Eye-opening Experience That Brought People Together

When I first learned about Downtown Streets Team, I was impressed with the innovative idea of a dual contributing organization as such. Not only does the organization employ those who are in need of financial help, it also contributes to San Rafael’s streets and environment. Especially with the economic gap in this era, an organization like this is exactly what this city needs. I was a bit nervous prior to meeting the members of Downtown Streets team, but they were all some of the kindest people I have ever come across. – Erika Rosales-Shelfo

Giving Some but Getting Even More

...The day we first met the Downtown Streets Team and shared our poems aloud, I was surprised by similarities we shared, despite our diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. When asked to name something she hates, one of the female members of the Downtown Streets Team replied, “I don’t like using the word ‘hate’ because it’s too strong and negative.” Her comment made me take a step back, look down at the answer I had written regarding something I hate, and cross it out because I was moved by the idea she brought to the table. I promptly changed the wording to “something I dislike.” I walked out of that room with an improved appreciation for positivity, and an overall feeling of sameness that inarguably contributed to the quality of my life. – Jenae Casalnuovo