Send Angie to Calarts

Before being accepted to the California Institute of the Arts I had never anticipated being able to pursue higher education. My dad is a high school dropout and an unemployed disabled Army veteran.  My mom is an immigrant who refuses to pay child support since leaving me as a toddler. There simply is no way I can finance higher education by myself. The expectation in my family is that I would also join the military. But the reality is that I am an artist, and art is what I need to pursue.  

This spring I was accepted at CalArts in The Program of the Arts.  Despite winning numerous grants, scholarships and awards, I am still unable to finance the total cost of my tuition.  I’ve exhausted all of my options (including private loans) and need to supplement the cost of my tuition through this campaign.  

Being able to attend CalArts is the opportunity I need to start the next chapter of my life.  However, I can’t make this happen without your support.  Donations to this campaign will help to supplement my costs for housing, food, books, art supplies, health care and transportation for my first year of school.  By donating, you will be providing me with a springboard towards financial and personal autonomy.  This is the first time in my life that I will have control over my own future.

The foundation of my life has always been cracked and unstable, but despite this, I've always found a way and a will to work hard and make things turn out for the better.  During my freshman year of high school, my dad lost his job after moving to Portland, Oregon. My life changed drastically. I worried constantly about my dad's risk to himself, and to my sister and me. My education was on the back burner. Every day I worried that he would forget to take the medication the V.A. supplied him with for his brain injury, mental disorders, and physical disability. He would threaten to kill himself and I was no longer certain that I could continue my education post high school.

During the end of my sophomore year, I made a decision to join the International Baccalaureate diploma program. This proved to be a very formative experience. During my time as an IB diploma candidate, I learned a lot about what it means to be intelligent. I was surrounded by very intelligent and studious people.  These students had parents that sent them to ACT prep classes, sports camps, and expected them to attend a selective private university. I had a father struggling with drug-addiction and war wounds, who couldn't give me the academic support I needed and wanted.

During this time, I found tremendous comfort in my International Baccalaureate art class. This was a place where I was considered very intelligent and could work through my home issues instead of feeling stifled by them. When I found myself needing to leave my home because I felt unsafe, I came to my art class as a way to move through the process on an intellectual level. After moving out of my home I was able to focus on the classes that gave me confidence and a voice. I've found my voice through visual media, telling my story as a second generation Colombian-American, and how I navigate the complicated intersections of my identity.

Through the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP), I plan to teach L.A. youth in the visual arts and foster their voice through free art classes. As a kid, I would have benefited from similar mentorship and a connection to the visual arts.  I want to be able to work with kids who come from a variety of different socioeconomic backgrounds in order to give them access to the materials and ideas that will foster their individual growth.  As it stands right now, access to art is primarily reserved for those with means. I want art to be accessible to all communities.   No one should be held back by the financial barriers to the arts that I am facing now as I pursue an art education.

Attending CalArts has been my dream, and the only way I can make it my reality is with your financial support.


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Angie Woolery 
Tigard, OR
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