Gabby is an Urban ArtWorks intern, helping us out and also putting some paint on walls. We asked her for her thoughts on public art and its role in creating engaged communities:

How did you find out about Urban Artworks?
I was looking for artistic internship opportunities for during the summer and found Urban Artworks online. I loved how it combined community art and rehabilitation/therapy for teens.

Which projects did you work on with us? Which one was your favorite?
I helped out with a couple panel projects, but my main project was the pillars. I loved watching the pillars come to life, but I think my favorite project was a 6 panel mural I painted with Lina for Uptown.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Seattle and spent my whole life there until I went to college. I currently attend Furman University in South Carolina where I am studying Studio Art, but I plan on moving back to Seattle after graduation.

What in your personal life has influenced you to choose your career path?
I’ve always been fascinated in psychology, and focused on helping people my whole life. I originally thought I wanted to be a clinical psychologist, but eventually decided that it would be a little too stressful for me. I always loved art, and did it all my life; However, I never actually studied it, and didn’t think it would create a conducive career path. Eventually I found out about art therapy, and loved the combination of psychology and art. At the moment I am doing freelance graphic design, but hope to eventually go to Grad school to pursue a degree in Art Therapy.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
The Professors at my school are an amazing support system. I’ve started doing freelance graphic design in my free time which really keeps me on a creative schedule. In addition to my graphic work, I am also the president at the art club at my university, and have to keep up with my art and plan/lead workshops for my club members.

Where do you get your inspiration from as an artist?
I get a lot of inspiration from my peers and professors, as they are always pushing me to think outside of the box. The majority of my art is inspired by social and societal problems, because I believe art has the unique ability to portray messages to people, who would otherwise not be willing to hear them.

Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
To me, this really depends on the motivation of the work. As a student, If i am creating art for class, or for a client, the final look matters the most because that is what I am being judged on. However, in my private work, I enjoy the creative process, and how much I can learn about my subject and portray them in unique ways to make the art more striking.

In your opinion, what are some ways that public art helps create a sense of community?
When people work on a project together, there is no doubt that they will feel closer when it is finished. Public art can also become a meeting place or conversation topic for people who live in the area. When people see that an artist has accurately portrayed their city, it adds to the sense of pride and individuality that the people living there have.

What are your thoughts about public art as a tool to reach young people?
I think its amazing when young people have the chance to work together to create something they are proud of. Not only does it add to their sense of community with each other, but it makes them feel more proud of where they live. This sense of pride will ultimately lead to more respectful actions towards the city, because of the work the youth have put into making it more beautiful.

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