Calynn Watson Fields, a high school senior from South Central LA, didn’t have a lot of friends, didn’t know she could make people laugh, didn’t know she had something so important to share with the world – her story and vision. But that changed when she signed up for an Eamon Cannon Comedy workshop at Inner-City Arts five years ago. What she discovered after more workshops and, later, through the Work of Art program was her own unique voice and a new confident self. She says it’s transformed her life.
“I’m not that shy kid I used to be,” she says. “I’m more goal-oriented now. I know how to create a resume, how to apply for scholarships, and it’s given me a lot of confidence – opening doors that were never open before. College hasn’t always been on my mind and now I’m focused on it.”
Because of Calynn’s interest in law and politics, the Work of Art program organized a shadow day for her at Los Angeles City Hall and paired her with the ACLU for a paid summer externship, which gave her the opportunity to also travel to Washington DC. Her experiences here have ignited a deeper interest in pursuing social justice work. Calynn plans to attend a four-year college, and intends to use her filmmaking, photography and creative writing skills to impact the world around her.
“I hope that I can use my art to shed a light on injustices in the world.” Reflecting on a film project she completed over the summer that brought a teaching artist to tears, she says, “I can never forget that feeling. It’s like something inside of me woke up and I realize now that I have a voice. Not just a voice for me to hear, but a voice to share with others.”