By Alejandra Alarcon
Coachella, Calif. — College of the Desert student Nancy Ramirez hopes to bring about change in her community by doing the thing she loves to do the most – create art.
Ramirez knew that she loved to draw since she was six. She looked up to her older brother and made her mother buy her how-to-draw books.
“I spent hours and hours in our apartment laying down on my stomach and tracing pictures,” Ramirez said.
She knew she would become an artist when her family and friends acknowledged her work as a child.
Ramirez said, “The reactions from the people around me made me happy.”
The Eastern Coachella Valley has been exposed to more art recently. Programs, including Raices Cultura, give artists from this community a space and the tools to create art pieces to share at community events. Ramirez is a volunteer at Raices Cultura because she wants to show the youth the possibilities that there is in the Eastern Coachella Valley.
“Whenever we work on an event, we always count on her to help out,” said Gabriel Perez, chairman of Raices Cultura. “She can show youth the options they have especially because she’s from the valley.”
“Having murals and more events would encourage others to follow their dreams and believe in them, along with using what they learn to help others,” said Ramirez.
Ramirez believes that having pride from where you come from is important when you are trying to make change. She hopes to make a difference with her artistic talents.
“I’d love to make more murals and cover as much as I can, to leave less space for vandalism and spread a positive take on life. I think it’s little things like painting electrical boxes and things others don’t appreciate that will show creativity and hopefully inspire others.”
Being an artist in the Eastern Coachella Valley has been very rewarding for Nancy.
At age 19, Nancy has already sold six paintings ranging in price from $200 to $300.
“My favorite artwork was the first Dia De Los Muertos painting I sold at the Raices event. It was a bit of a reality check for me, proving that I can do anything,” Ramirez said.
“As an artist in this community I’ve gotten to sell paintings, meet people, help youth, create memories, and share art,” Ramirez said.
She enjoys what she does and gives it her all.
“Never stop learning. Don’t stick to one medium it’s like eating chicken cup-of-noodle soups your whole life and never enjoying other foods,” advises Ramirez.
She aspires to transfer to a four-year university and travel after completing her general education requirements at College of the Desert.
“I know I’m going to keep painting, but I feel like I want to learn to do it better so that my stuff can be the best.”
Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.