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Speaking Engagements

Past Speaking Engagements

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A Bit About Me

I am Estefany (Stef) Rodriguez. I am the founder of Stef's Creation, a small art business based in Camden NJ. I have been teaching art for 10 years. My mission is to inspire the next generation of artists.

 

My vision is to bring art to girls of color in my community who don't have access to art development classes. Community building is one of my core values and I want to teach girls that art can help communities heal and grow.

There are many barriers for artists of underrepresented communities to enter the arts ecosystem. These barriers disproportionately affect girls of color in urban communities.

 

We want to bring art-making skills to students who don't have the resources through their school systems. There is a need for art development spaces in our community and this space will bridge that gap. 

It wasn't until I started high school that I was able to start creating art. I immigrated from the Dominican Republic at a young age and did not start drawing or painting until taking courses at my high school. My teacher motivated me to keep creating art! My dream was to be a teacher and so I started working as a camp counselor at Urban Promise Camden when I was 14 years old.

 

There I competed in the More than A Beauty Pageant and became the first Miss Promise. My talent component was painting, upside down! Don't worry, I wasn't upside down, but the image was! UrbanPromise used their resources to give me more art lesson opportunities, more showcase opportunities, and scholarships to continue perfecting my craft. 

17 years old me presenting my Upside-down Painting of Einstein at UrbanPromise's Annual Banquet in 2015.

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My instructor! Peter Kelsey helped me create portraits I never imagined possible. He inspired me to help other students achieve the same. I decided to go to TCNJ and studied Art Education with a full ride scholarship.

I am now the art teacher at the high school I graduated from, Pennsauken High School, and I get to work with students who were in my same shoes. When my students asked if I was always good at art I tell them, "No, I started at the same place you are at now! I had no idea how to draw or paint, I just had amazing mentors and teachers." 

Parents always ask me where their kids can get more art lessons but programs in neighboring towns are too expensive and there's little access to them for minority students in my classrooms. 

If it were not for the help and mentorship I received growing up, I would not be where I am today. My journey was full of people who believed in me, supported me, and pushed me to create boldly and without fear. Today, I am grateful to be a high school art teacher, a summer instructor at Princeton University's Preparatory Program, and a Christian community artist. I hope I can help many more girls reach their artistic dreams. Without the mentorship and financial support I received I would not be where I am today. 

The future interns will be working as a team to help me create your art pieces. The ceramic pottery and prints you will receive are handmade. The interns will be invested in the learning process. They will take these skills with them to help build their own artistic pursuits throughout the yearly programming help at the Creation Makerspace. The interns will learn first-hand how to scale art work, develop products, perfect their mission, showcase their work, and bring their ideas to life! 

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