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Expanding the Walls 2021

Grade: 10th

Lorca was born and raised in Harlem. She has roots in Eastern Europe and Chile; her father is an immigrant from South America while her great-great-grandparents immigrated from Imperial Russia during

Lorca was born and raised in Harlem. She has roots in Eastern Europe and Chile; her father is an immigrant from South America while her great-great-grandparents immigrated from Imperial Russia during the pogroms. She’s bilingual (working on the strength of her fluency in Spanish) and interested in discovering more about her ancestors’ culture. Lorca spends her time composing music on piano and with her voice, reading, writing works of her own, and editing others’ stories . When she has the opportunity, she enjoys visiting bookstores, collecting countless records at vinyl shops, spending time with friends, traveling, and exploring New York City. Lorca’s musical inspirations range from artists like B.B. King and Nina Simone, 70s and 80s rock bands, Biggie Smalls, and Ms. Lauryn Hill to contemporary rappers. Her literary inspirations depend on the genre, but she’s found herself obsessed with Stephen King, Leigh Bardugo, Federico Garcia Lorca (her namesake), and a variety of fantasy/YA/NA writers. Her parents are her biggest inspiration, being writers and musicians themselves (although their work is private and they’ve never pursued artistic careers). Lorca applied to Expanding The Walls because of the opportunity for self expression and to discover more about herself in the matter of artistic pursuits.


Grade: 12th

Margaret is a funny but quiet person who has a fondness for photography, drawing, and painting. She was born and raised in Ghana and moved to the United States at the age of thirteen in search of

Margaret is a funny but quiet person who has a fondness for photography, drawing, and painting. She was born and raised in Ghana and moved to the United States at the age of thirteen in search of better opportunities. Living in the United States has presented its challenges, but Margaret has been able to conquer these obstacles and create greatness out of them. In her free time, Margaret likes to read and watch videos on YouTube. Currently, she is reading Midnight by Sister Souljah. She is interested in fashion and continues to figure out her aesthetic. During quarantine, Margaret taught herself how to paint by watching YouTube tutorials, and now it has become something she enjoys. Margaret’s mother inspires her to do her best. She has seen her mother sacrifice a lot for her children, so in turn, Margaret makes sure she works very hard to make her mom proud. Margaret applied to Expanding the Walls because photography has always been something she has been interested in doing. She wants to become a model, so this is a great opportunity for her to tap into her creative side. Joining this program has been a huge accomplishment for Margaret, and she looks forward to the journey ahead.


Grade: 12th

Jaden is a young Black man, who is quiet but who can light up the room with his mood. He always makes sure the people in his company are in a positive mood and mindset. He was born in the Bronx but

Jaden is a young Black man, who is quiet but who can light up the room with his mood. He always makes sure the people in his company are in a positive mood and mindset. He was born in the Bronx but raised in Manhattan. Everyone who knows Jaden knows he is a sports head who is also nerdy and very creative. He loves music of many different genres, from Jazz to Punk Rock. He spends time watching sports, dealing with sports analytics, reading the latest Marvel or DC issues, or looking up a new recipe he can whip up for his people. He wants to work in the sports field, have his own business, or work at a large corporation one day. Jaden applied to Expanding The Walls because he loves art and whenever he gets the opportunity to be involved in art, in any way, he will take on the challenge.


Grade: 10th

Jasmine is Cambodian and Jamaican and was born and raised in the Bronx and enjoys all forms of art including theatre, photography, and music. Despite her keenness and put-together formality, she finds

Jasmine is Cambodian and Jamaican and was born and raised in the Bronx and enjoys all forms of art including theatre, photography, and music. Despite her keenness and put-together formality, she finds joy in binge-watching shows and creating a space of loose energy for those around her to feel welcome. She enjoys using art such as painting and photography to express her inner emotions that she is unable to communicate verbally. She applied to the Expanding the Walls program in hopes of jumpstarting her passion for art and to learn how to portray exactly what she's thinking and feeling. Additionally, she joined this program to work with peers within her community and to grow alongside them. Her plans for the future are yet to be decided, and her Libra sun definitely does not help her dubiety.


Grade: 12th

Ray is a kind and caring person. He was born in Manhattan and has dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico. He likes to learn new languages, explore new cuisine, and take photos of New York

Ray is a kind and caring person. He was born in Manhattan and has dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico. He likes to learn new languages, explore new cuisine, and take photos of New York City. He enjoys playing soccer on the weekends and is a really good goalkeeper. In the future Ray wants to attend law school, and become a lawyer. He applied to Expanding the Walls to improve his photography and to learn about new forms of art.


Grade: 11th

Fatoumata is originally from Mali and is currently living in the Bronx. Fatoumata loves to draw and paint as a hobby. She’s going to be a corporate lawyer but recognizes the importance of engaging in

Fatoumata is originally from Mali and is currently living in the Bronx. Fatoumata loves to draw and paint as a hobby. She’s going to be a corporate lawyer but recognizes the importance of engaging in activities that aren’t for business and law school. She enjoys the company of her family in New York and her family in Mali. Fatoumata speaks her native tongue with families and friends at home and in public because she loves switching from English to Bambara. Her inspirations come from what her parents have accomplished and sacrificed in their lives. She has excellent grades, and used to be on the soccer and volleyball team at school but now fences. Fatoumata applied to Expanding the Walls because she believes art can function as a way for people to cope with anxiety and lead to personal accomplishments. With the pandemic, she realized the significance of experiencing new and different things, which is why this program interested her.


Grade: 10th

Karthik is from Queens. He lives with his parents, who are of Indian descent, and has a younger brother. He is a quiet and creative person. His artistic interests include drawing, painting, sculpture

Karthik is from Queens. He lives with his parents, who are of Indian descent, and has a younger brother. He is a quiet and creative person. His artistic interests include drawing, painting, sculpture, and fashion. In his free time, he likes to play videogames with his friends, create art, and listen to music; his favorite genres are experimental pop and rap. Music and art are his inspirations, including Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, and Rick Owens, in addition to many other designers and artists. Karthik decided to apply to Expanding the Walls to learn more about photography, an art form he was extremely interested in learning about for some time before the program. Moreover, he believes in the power of art to convey emotions and art as a form of expression, two ideas he hopes to utilize and improve on in his artwork throughout the program’s duration.


Grade: 12th

Denisse is Mexican American from Washington Heights. A shy but kind person, she is a leader and a role model. She is determined about her passions. Her favorite interests are exercising, photography,

Denisse is Mexican American from Washington Heights. A shy but kind person, she is a leader and a role model. She is determined about her passions. Her favorite interests are exercising, photography, reading, listening to music, socializing, and volunteer work. Denisse’s inspiration comes from her hard-working parents. She has taken multiple college courses and AP classes to become successful in college. She is currently working and participating in this program to gain life skills in the future—this is her last year of high school. She wants to take advantage of this opportunity, gain new experiences, apply techniques to her photography, learn how to use a camera, and become a pro at photography.


Grade: 10th

Joel is from Manhattan. He's an average teenager that aspires to be someone better every day. Joel does a variety of things such as drawing and playing instruments. He also enjoys bingeing a lot of

Joel is from Manhattan. He's an average teenager that aspires to be someone better every day. Joel does a variety of things such as drawing and playing instruments. He also enjoys bingeing a lot of shows, which is one of his favorite hobbies. His favorite motto that gets him through each day is “learn from the past, live the present, and chase the future.” Joel wanted to apply to a program such as Expanding The Walls because he likes trying new things, finding new interests, and expanding his knowledge. Some of Joel’s inspirations are his family, friends, and himself. The reason Joel is his own inspiration is that because he strives to be a better person. He wants to learn from his past experiences and show others that you can do anything when you put effort into your craft. In order for Joel to aspire to live up to his motto, he joined multiple programs to have connections like SEO (Seize Every Opportunity). He wants to make his family proud and be a hero to others and himself.


Grade: 11th

Raymond is from Washington Heights. He is very passionate and determined, and always puts his best effort towards his goals and responsibility. He loves sports, such as baseball and basketball, and

Raymond is from Washington Heights. He is very passionate and determined, and always puts his best effort towards his goals and responsibility. He loves sports, such as baseball and basketball, and has a great interest in the arts. He uses the things he loves in order to feel relaxed and at peace in his life. His family inspires him every day to keep being determined and keep pushing to be great. He wants to achieve his goals to make his family proud.


Grade: 9th

Alexa comes from different backgrounds, her parents are Dominican, her sisters are Venezuelan, and Alexa was born and raised in New York. One of Alexa’s many interests is art. She specifically enjoys

Alexa comes from different backgrounds, her parents are Dominican, her sisters are Venezuelan, and Alexa was born and raised in New York. One of Alexa’s many interests is art. She specifically enjoys painting with her sister and has even created an Instagram page with her sister dedicated to art. She also has an interest in baking and enjoys baking with her family as well as alone. She has made cupcakes, brownies, and cakes and loves making them for her neighbors. Alexa loves spending time with friends and family, singing, dancing, and making TikToks. Her inspiration is to be successful in life, and she can thank her sisters and her parents who inspire her to be the best that she can be. Alexa applied to Expanding the Walls because she loves photography and wants to be a professional photographer. Her inspiration for photography comes from her deceased aunt—she once took a picture with her aunt and lost it, and ever since she wanted to create long-lasting memories.


Grade: 9th

Hapsatou was born and raised in New York and is a child of Gambian parents. She is an introvert with few best friends and is very quiet. She is friendly with everyone but doesn’t get close to that

Hapsatou was born and raised in New York and is a child of Gambian parents. She is an introvert with few best friends and is very quiet. She is friendly with everyone but doesn’t get close to that many people—she prefers to observe people instead. Hapsatou interests are food, art, and sports. She likes to sing, dance, color, swim, take pictures, travel, and eat good food. Her inspirations are books, music , and life lessons. Hapsatou applied for Expanding the Walls because she wants to improve herself as a human being and wants to come out of her comfort zone.


Grade: 9th

Derian is a shy person who wants to change his community in the South Bronx with hopes to improve the economy. He started to discover anime and has a strong interest in the world of photography. He

Derian is a shy person who wants to change his community in the South Bronx with hopes to improve the economy. He started to discover anime and has a strong interest in the world of photography. He enjoys playing a variety of video games, and some say he is good.His main inspiration is his older sister; she taught him how to treat people with respect and to not judge them by their appearance. He applied to Expanding the Walls to get more involved with the world of art and to discover who he will become in the future.


Grade: 11th

Chelsy is a young artist who is merely experiencing life as a human being. She is a teen from the Bronx who craves to see more of the world. Chelsy feels that her identity lies with her perspective of

Chelsy is a young artist who is merely experiencing life as a human being. She is a teen from the Bronx who craves to see more of the world. Chelsy feels that her identity lies with her perspective of the world and that her art is a direct reflection of herself. She loves to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments with her phone, paint on canvas, and draw in her sketchbook, all while letting her artistic intuition guide her. Her inspiration springs from many things, whether that is the world around her, nature, or her emotions, but her main inspiration comes from love. The people she loves directly affect her and her work. Chelsy applied for Expanding the Walls in hopes of completely finding herself artistically.


Grade: 11th

Djenebou is a quiet but mindful city girl and has an obsession with the color lavender. She was born and raised in Harlem by two very hard-working parents from Mali who love sharing their culture with

Djenebou is a quiet but mindful city girl and has an obsession with the color lavender. She was born and raised in Harlem by two very hard-working parents from Mali who love sharing their culture with their children. She is very interested in foreign languages because she wants to become multilingual in the future. She is interested in learning how to draw realistic portraits and landscapes, which she does in her free time. Djenebou likes to watch Netflix and read books. She also likes to sing even though she knows she's bad at it. Denzel Dion is a public influencer who inspired her to do what she loves to do no matter what people think as long as it makes her happy, also showing her that everything is a journey. She applied for Expanding the Walls because she is interested in using a camera and learning how to create art. The Studio Museum is located in Harlem, and being born in Harlem she was intrigued and interested in learning about how people use different art forms to express the neighborhood’s significance and how people are impacted and influenced by it.


Grade: 10th

Brianna is an innovative young artist from the Upper East Side who enjoys reading fanfiction, watching anime, and drawing daily. In their spare time they like to pick up a book or two and catch up on

Brianna is an innovative young artist from the Upper East Side who enjoys reading fanfiction, watching anime, and drawing daily. In their spare time they like to pick up a book or two and catch up on their latest show, or even sit in a closet and contemplate life. Their inspirations are life on Earth; reptiles, animals with fur, epic game art, anything whimsical, and many fictional characters. They applied for Expanding the Walls due to their fascination with whimsical settings, hoping to imitate perspectives and angles that are depicted in media and art.


Grade: 12th

Fatima is a senior going to college soon. She was born in Bangladesh and raised in New York City. Throughout the many changes in life, she found a passion for art. She likes to explore new art forms

Fatima is a senior going to college soon. She was born in Bangladesh and raised in New York City. Throughout the many changes in life, she found a passion for art. She likes to explore new art forms and wants to pursue different art careers, although she’s unsure of what exactly her career will be. New cultures, music, TV shows, and books helped her adapt and overcome the challenges she faced, and she realized they were all varying forms of art. Art has helped her to better accept and understand people and life. In her journey of exploring art, Expanding the Walls presented an opportunity for her to express herself using photography and grasp new digital skills. Her inspiration to start photography stemmed from wanting to capture the ideas and thoughts she has daily, making her wonder if other people think the same things or if they see something completely different.


Grade: 10th

Kaylynn is a flexible, creative, able, calm, and capable person.She was born and raised in New York. Her mother was born in the Dominican Republic and her father is African American making Kaylynn an

Kaylynn is a flexible, creative, able, calm, and capable person.She was born and raised in New York. Her mother was born in the Dominican Republic and her father is African American making Kaylynn an Afro-Latina American. She is interested in movies and music and enjoys sleeping, listening to music, and watching TV during her free time. Some of Kaylynn’s inspirations include her mother, who inspires her to work hard and persevere as well as people who are living her ideal life and who she considers successful. Though she doesn’t know exactly what success will look like for her yet, she has an idea. Kaylynn applied to Expanding the Walls to meet new people and gain new skills in photography and an understanding of the arts.