One month into his GlassRoots fellowship, Erlea Dani Jimenez writes about how Peters Valley has opened his eyes up to new mediums and ways of making:
“My experience at Peters Valley has been absolutely thrilling! This experience has helped me gain a new perspective on the arts world. My first introduction to the arts world came from GlassRoots, a small but rapidly growing nonprofit located in Newark, NJ, my hometown. Being introduced to the vast sea that is the art world, I only learned how to swim through experience, not a strictly regulated education. I went to a science oriented public high school, and sadly to them that meant that art was not focused nor even really mentioned in most of the curriculum. As a result the only real experiences I’ve had with formal art were through GlassRoots and the glass world, but now thanks to Peters Valley that has changed!
I’ve only been here for one month, but in that time, I’ve taken six classes all with focuses on different mediums and new, but related, skill sets. In this new experience, I am thinking about ways in which I can interlace mediums e.g. using basket weaving and chasing as a means to create jewelry. I had never imagined that I’d have that thought, let alone imagine the amazing breadth and depth of knowledge gained through this program. The GlassRoots-Peters Valley Fellowship is allowing me to create and explore new unseen realms of art. It’s given me inspiration to change my focus in life to embrace the different art mediums and the art world in a brand new way.
I am from a lower middle class family and didn’t have much growing up, meaning I couldn’t experience the world of the arts without some kind of scholarship. If I needed to pay for an arts program, chances were I wouldn’t take it. However, thanks to this program, I am going through a radical mind shift. I am viewing the arts as a method to learning more about science, technology, business, nature, friendships and professional relationships. I am also viewing it as a strong educational tool. This feels like what I wanted college to feel like; a place where I can learn, create fond memories, craft stories, experiences and art, and begin to understand my place in the world. I have always had these kinds of considerations in the past with GlassRoots and glass art, but now that I have a larger range of artistic experiences, I feel as though I can understand the world more clearly. I can now see possibilities that have always felt locked away behind a door. Now that I have the key, I realize it was only me locked away inside, and the world Peters Valley has shown me is so much more vast and freeing.”