Naghelly Lopez
University of California Los Angeles -  School of the Art and Architecture

Art statement:

I felt amazing when I got into Otis College of Art’s program as a high school student. I did not expect this to happen to me because of where I grew up; I was homeless. I had to live in a multi-stop truck with my family of three. My parents and I would take turns on who gets to sleep on the floor or the car seat. I mainly slept on the metal floor which caused me to lose a lot of sleep. I fell behind on my class assignments but even then I was determined to wake up every Sunday morning to go to Otis. From East Hollywood to Marina Del Rey every Sunday I would wake up at 5:00 am and take two busses to get my way to Otis College of the Arts.

When I was chosen, I could not believe I was going to be around students from diverse backgrounds because I came from a low-income background. It was hard because I would stay up late at night drawing and painting to prove that I could work hard and belong in Otis.

I had trouble doing my homework. There was so much noise and not enough space in the multi-stop truck; I found ways to relax by going to the park - which was more spacious than where I was staying. Even though my homeless situation has given me so much stress and difficulties completing assignments it gave me reasons to hang out in parks longer. Also, being in the park helped me calm my anxieties. As I had a hard time with homelesness, I knew other students did as well.

Students who have a hard time focusing due to homelessness is such a heavy topic for me to discuss; I would slowly grow the courage and confidence to tell my stories to other students who are also facing similar experiences. I would like to show people that they are students with great potential in the college campuses but that the only thing holding them back is not having housing.

The stars are there for me to tell me that I can achieve my goals. These stars are involved and present when I am close to achieving what I want.The stars are hovering around me to navigate me towards my achievements. The stars are there to help me every step of the way because they are my protectors. They protect me from disasters or failures. From the emptiness we get when we do not achieve our goals. The stars are all connected in a way because they are up in the sky and floating around linked together.