Creative Solutions Forever Connects Christian and Diego

By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager

Christian and Diego are forever connected through their life-altering involvement in Big Thought’s Creative Solutions summer program at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts. Creative Solutions teaches art to juveniles convicted of a crime, giving them a second chance at an enriching future.

So they spend hours each day inside the Owen Arts Center – Christian exercising his muse in the performing arts theaters, and Diego creating colorful masterpieces in the visual arts workroom.

Yet one is a returner and one is a newcomer. Returners started the summer 2016 program on June 14, while newcomers commenced on June 15. Both continue through the official close of this year’s program with the culminating performance July 29.

Sitting down to gather thoughts from Christian and Diego underscored the many similarities shared between a teen who knows the ropes and one just learning the scene. They both need to be validated, they crave the opportunity to be expressive, and they relish the nurturing vibes of an encouraging environment.

Take a look at these mini profiles, and see them at work in the photos. We need to be respectful of their identities in pictures and in text. But their personalities, their will to matter, always shine.

Christian M.

Fifth year Creative Solutions student

Age: 17

Art interests: Acting, singing, dancing, poetry

What brings you back?

“The experience of being onstage, having the chance to have my work out there, be myself but at the same time be someone completely different onstage,” says Christian. “I like getting to meet new people and see some old faces. Although it feels good to have an audience, it wouldn’t matter if there weren’t one because I know the work I put into it. I know that I did it and that’s the most important part.”

What is the power of Creative Solutions?

“It gives me a backbone. There is a ton of support here and tons of love. It is freeing. It’s an open place. It lets you express yourself like you want to express yourself.”

Does this feel like family?

“Of course! Some days there is no place I would rather be than here. It’s an open place, a welcoming place. There are people here that understand me better than I understand myself. Although there are some people that annoy you sometimes like brothers and sisters, those are the bonds that never go away.”

Diego A.

First year Creative Solutions student

Age: 15

Art Interests: Mosaic, drawing, painting, ceramics

What brings you here?

“I want to express myself,” says Diego. “I like to feel independent. I like to work on my art at my own pace. In ceramics, making a cup or doing a statue, it has my print in it. It feels great because it is something that I’m doing that I can be proud of.”

What is the power of Creative Solutions?

“For me it’s an awesome experience. I thought it was going to be just one of those probation programs. It keeps me off the streets. I do what I like to do. I enjoy myself.”

Does this feel like family?

“I feel like I can relate to a lot of people here because most of us have gone through the same things,” says Diego. “We all felt pain at some point. Nobody judges you. No matter who you are or what you did, you are treated with respect. We come from the same places; we grew up in the same places.”

Big Thought’s Creative Solutions thanks the Dallas County Juvenile Department, Dallas County Juror’s Fund, Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, Anonymous, ExxonMobil, Mr. and Mrs. David Chortek, Ms. Serena Simmons Connelly, Mr. Tom Connelly, Elizabeth Toon Charities, Hillcrest Foundation, The M.R. & Evelyn Hudson Foundation, Mr. Jay Judas, Texas Bar Foundation, The Junior League of Dallas, Katherine C. Carmody Charitable Trust, Ms. Eliza Solender, TurningPoint Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and The Ellen Wood Fund for their generous support.


Big ThoughtCreative Solutions Forever Connects Christian and Diego