By Jen Blesso
Since 2014, before Follow Your Art became a non-profit and before its Arts for All program began, high school interns from SEEM Collaborative’s Community Work Program have assisted us with multiple tasks, including prep of materials, art samples, and corralling of small children. Follow Your Art is now Follow Your Art Community Studios, and our programming to support individuals with special needs has expanded through Arts for All, which supports traditionally marginalized and under-resourced populations through inclusive practices.
Typically, students come to us from Campus Academy in Stoneham. This year we had our first intern join us from SEEM Prep, a therapeutic high school in Wakefield. We were thrilled when we found out that Nicolas would be joining us. He is an artist with a lot to share. He has a bold sunny art style that is often infused with humor. We first met Nick when he was about 15 years old at SEEM Prep where he would take part in a weekly art activity facilitated by FYACS Executive Director, Kris Rodolico, and later by me–Arts for All Program Coordinator, Jen Blesso. Part of his duties included straightening up the downstairs area after a long week of art classes and prep before the next art class. Every week he would create a sample piece of artwork for our facilitators to use in our Creative Arts and Mixed Media Art class for children ages 4 and up. Nicolas recently graduated from high school. His final project for FYACS was to participate in an interview for this blog.
Q: What is your favorite art supply?
A: My favorite art supplies are the different paints. I like working with paint because they come in many colors, and I enjoy mixing them together.
Q: How long have you been an artist?
A: I have been an artist since I was a little boy. When I was younger, I would make art on the computer but now I enjoy making cards for people that I know.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not making art?
A:I like to do chores, explore different places, look for coins, and take naps.
Q: What is your favorite thing to make?
A: One of my favorite things to make are paintings. My favorite project was when I painted a picture of an umbrella.
Q: What are you looking forward to this summer?
A: I am looking forward to going swimming and I am excited for the 4th of July fireworks.
I want to thank Nicolas for all of his hard work and for sharing his artistic talent with all of us at Follow Your Art Community Studios. We wish him luck in his future endeavors.
 SEEM Collaborative is an educational collaborative supported by 11 school districts with multiple locations in northeast Massachusetts, which provides educational and therapeutic programming to students who were not able to get their needs met in the public school system. SEEM Prep is a high school for students with a wide range of support needs. Interns receive a stipend from the Community Work Program. FYACS’s Arts for All provides onsite supervision and works with job coaches and SEEM coordinators to support the interns’ goals.
Jen Blesso has been working at Follow Your Art since the beginning. In addition to her role as the Arts for All Program Coordinator, she facilitates creative arts programming for children 18 months to 10 years old.