As some of you know, I recently graduated from the Pratt MFA program and have been selected to participate in the Pratt Forward residency at New Lab in October 2022. I am humbled and excited by this opportunity. It’s a chance to collaborate with other organizations and individuals who work in the New Lab space and to build strong connections with other artists. While fees for using the facilities have been paid for through Pratt, the program does not cover living expenses. I have been unemployed for most of the summer and don’t have funds to cover the cost of rent and food for October.
When I walk into New Lab, it's as if I’ve entered a parallel universe; some of the equipment available to us is $10,000 or more. It is a huge privilege to be included in this space and a huge responsibility. In a lot of ways, I felt more comfortable last year at the afterschool program I helped coordinate in Brownsville than I do at New Lab. I want to dedicate my time fully to the residency so that I can learn some new skills that could be passed down to kids I work with in the future. My goal is to keep contributing to community-run organizations so I can eventually open an arts and learning center in collaboration with other artists and activists.
I continue to send out my resume daily, but I am repeatedly told that I need more experience despite having juggled parents with chronic illness, school and work obligations since the age of fifteen. Instead of being offered a “real” job, six people have written with offers for me to babysit their children.While I am grateful for their offer of support in whatever way they might afford to give it, it’s disheartening to find myself back to square one.
I am asking for help for one month so that I can make the most of this opportunity. I will be taking jobs on the weekend that may cover some but not all of my expenses. Please know that I appreciate your support more than I can express and will do my best to make your investment worthwhile.
P.S. For those who ask why I don’t go to my family for help, there’s this little bit of back history:
My dad has Early Onset Alzheimer’s and is in a memory care unit at a nursing home. He is sixty-three years old and became ill at 50 years old. Meanwhile, my mother endeavors to remain independent despite the long-term effects of a spinal cord injury that has left her suffering from chronic pain and the loss of mobility/sensation in fifty percent of her body.