Graduate Student Feature: Candace Everette, M.A.A.A. ’22
Through creative and performing art, Candace Everette, M.A.A.A. '22, acknowledges, embraces and amplifies the voices of Black and Brown youth.
Goucher Graduate Programs interviewed Candace Everette, M.A.A.A. '22, to talk about her youth-based organization, the A M.A.Y Project. We also asked Everette how she has applied the education she's received in the M.A. in Arts Administration Program to running her organization.
Tell us a little bit about the A M.A.Y Project.
Birthed in 2016, the A M.A.Y Project is a youth-based theater program that teaches creative practices for social and emotional development, healthy communication between interpersonal relationships and performance readiness skills.
What inspired you to start your own youth-based organization?
As a survivor of childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences, I activated my imagination to envision a world in which I belonged. Reflecting on the solace that transpired through the makeup of characters and dramatic play, I knew it was my responsibility to recreate similar experiences for other children.
What do you enjoy most about being the owner of your own organization?
What I enjoy most about being the owner of my organization is the reality that I am not subjected to minimize my visions for the comfort of other people. As a creative I have, in the past, found myself attempting to validate the massive capacity of my visions in order for them to be understood and accepted by those around me.
What is the most challenging part of your work? How do you overcome those obstacles?
The most challenging part of my work is juggling creative requirements with the many other hats I wear including motherhood, grad school, etc. I overcome this obstacle by reminding myself daily that art is universal and is a catalyst for change that permeates social, economic and political boundaries.
How have you applied the education you’ve received at Goucher to your role?
So far, the application of innovative leadership in which I am capable of creating opportunities in conjunction with the people and circumstances around me has been a major lesson. Arts Administration is an industry in which there are not many African American females at the head of arts organizations and my commitment to developing proper strategies and partnerships is pertinent to the success and sustainability of my advancements.
What is the most important lesson you teach to children?
The most important lesson I teach children includes the realization that the visions we establish in our minds serve as the platform to manifest whatever we desire in reality.
What is your advice to individuals who would want to own youth-based organizations in their cities?
I advise those individuals to understand the history of their cities and communities. Nina Simone said it best, that as artists our responsibility is to reflect the times in which we live. In order to serve youth in relevant ways, and to be a guide for their futures, they must understand who and what they are connected to from the past. Also, listen to what they have to say. In many instances, it's not that our children are without feelings and suggestions- they may be at a disadvantage, simply because they do not possess the tools to properly communicate their thoughts in safe and fun spaces.
Is there anything you would like to mention that we haven’t mentioned?
I speak about childhood traumas that I endured; however, I dedicate this work and creative commitment to my parents who did they best they possibly could and in many ways were my introduction to creative art through visual art and music.