Me chamo Anna! I recently graduated from Belmont University in May of 2015 with a BS in Sociology and Art History. To sum it up, social justice and the arts are my heart and soul, and I take every opportunity I have to mix the two together. I have an extreme passion for understanding (and experiencing!) the social world and the ways in which it impacts my life and the lives of others. I find great value and fulfillment in both recognizing the inequalities and social problems that exist within our world and working towards social change. As far as the arts go, whether it is performance or visual art, I have been involved in the arts and worked with artists of all sorts for what seems like my entire life. I firmly believe that the arts are intrinsically connected to the human experience and that artistic expression is a kind of universal language that can break down social barriers, foster communal and and intercultural connections, and ultimately elevate the way of life for both individuals and communities. For me, my passions go hand in hand because I honestly believe that supporting the arts is an excellent way to promote social change.
While I have never had the opportunity to travel abroad before, my travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil through the Lumos Scholarship Foundation provides me with the chance to not only pursue my dreams of traveling abroad, but also to dig in, get my hands dirty, and do the kind of work that I have always wanted to do. During my time in Rio I will be working with the organization International Volunteer Headquarters (IVHQ) and their local partner organization Jacarandá International Volunteering Experience (JIVE) in their community development program. I will be involved in several community development projects during my time in Rio but specifically, my work abroad will focus on using art as a vehicle to cultivate social change. Primarily, I will be maintaining and implementing arts education programs in communities that don’t traditionally have access to them, creating community arts projects, and supporting local artists throughout various communities in Rio de Janeiro.
My adventure to Brazil is a microcosm of the work I want to continue doing in the future. After my time in Rio, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in Sociology with an emphasis in arts focused community development. My time in Brazil and my future studies will strengthen my abilities to understand widespread social issues and reduce those issues through community-based models. In the future, I hope these experiences allow me to fulfill my dreams of using community art programs to combat social inequality.