“Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” —Unknown
Ashley Zaragoza is an actress, improviser, comedy writer and facilitator born, raised and based in New York City. She has been performing in community theater for over a decade and in improv/comedy for almost 7 years. She's been a teaching artist for nearly 8 years in NYC public schools for students of all ages (3-21). Ashley believes in the power the arts have to create transformative change. Her creative work has deeply impacted her own life and she wishes to share that with other people looking for a creative outlet to express themselves.
"TAP was my first in-depth teaching artist training in the 8 years that I've been working as a TA. It was refreshing to be able to put my teacher hat (or sock as Adriana calls it) to the side and experience the kind of work I'm doing with my students as a lifelong student myself. I had the opportunity to work with Adriana in the Inclusive & Collaborative Art fieldwork track in which we defined art as a collective, broke down the principles of collaboration, and explored Artivism through examples of artwork that have come out of different social events/issues. In this process, I got to collaborate with my group in creating our own art piece around a social justice topic that we share a passion for. In addition to the TAP workshops & fieldwork, I got to participate in workshops on mental health & trauma, asynchronous learning, and clowning which all lend themselves to the work I've been doing and hope to continue to do with my students."
Most Memorable TAP Moment:
"My most memorable TAP moment was running around my house in search of found materials that I could use to make art. As someone who does not identify as a visual artist, hearing that we would be painting without paint or any typical art materials threw me for a loop. "How do you make art out of coffee and tea and old candy? I know it's possible but will it be good?" I thought to myself with only 10 minutes remaining. Then I just kind of let myself go for it and once I started, I didn't want to start. I was amazed at what I was able to create and even more blown away by seeing what my TAP peers created. It was a moment of realization that creativity is truly limitless and when you're creating from the heart and not just your mind and what you think is "good", that's when art is most beautiful. I ended up "painting" a sunflower since they're my favorite flower and bring me great joy, just like this TAP experience has."
Find out more about Ashley here:
Literary theme: The Power of Discovery/Coming of Age/
Statement: You make me something I’m not
Haiku: (5, 7, 5)
If I am not me
You make me something I’m not
and that cannot be
For there is so much more
than what you see on the surface
And what you may have heard in stories that weren’t others’ to tell
If I am not me, I will be someone else
Someone I won’t ever know
Someone I will never understand(.)
Let me show you who I am
I will tell my own stories
I will embrace my history
I will live my truth and
I will love the person I am(.)
I will be Me(.)