Derrick Wallace, a Carrick High School graduate, admits he didn’t have much aspiration for his future before enrolling in Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild (MCG) afterschool arts programming. “Before the Guild, I wasn’t in the best place mentally. I had no confidence. I had no plans for my future, my self-esteem was at an all-time low, but the Guild led me in the exact direction I needed to be in.” Derrick remembers, “Being a high school senior with no plans, it’s amazing to think how far I’ve come because MCG played a big part in my life.”

Derrick took many digital art classes during his time at MCG. He recalls, “through those classes, I saw the teaching artists being open-minded and willing to help others learn. The MCG staff has become like a family to me, they are people I can look up to when I need motivation.”

Derrick is currently a Freshman studying Art Education at Edinboro University. When asked if attending MCG gave him the confidence to pursue a college education, Derrick stated “Absolutely, MCG is the reason I even thought about pursuing my passions and seeking out my dreams. I honestly believe I’d still be at home in Pittsburgh, if (MCG staff members) Sam and Talon didn’t drive me up to Edinboro on the field trip. They are the reason that I’m even at college and studying Art Education right now.” Ultimately, Derrick hopes to find a worthwhile job in the arts, so that he can continue to grow and help others to achieve their passions.

When asked why it’s important for students today to get participate in the arts like the programs at MCG, Derrick emphasized “getting involved is a way to expand your horizons, a way to put yourself out there, and meet new people. Through the Guild, they help artists widen their range of talents and improve themselves for the future.” Derrick is truly grateful for everything that MCG has given him and will never forget his time here. He hopes that future students gain the inspiration to do what they love.

 

Note: The Manchester Craftsman Guild in Pittsburgh, PA is one of Arivva’s partner organizations among the network of Centers for Arts & Technology across the U.S. that maintains similar programs and goals.