Fostering the Next Generation of Artists

By Marilyn Nguyen (Ryman ’11), Development Coordinator

This holiday season, we want to share with you three heart-warming stories of how the Ryman Arts program nourishes our students’ passion for the arts and fosters the next generation of artists. The impact of Ryman Arts begins in the studio classrooms, like in Emily C.’s story, and extends into a lifelong connection with the arts, as seen with our recent alumna Bailey S. (Ryman ’18) and our longtime alumnus and supporter Kevin C. (Ryman ’06).

Ryman Arts provides access to the arts for motivated, young artists.

Emily C. (Ryman ’19)

Emily at the Marvel-inspired workshop

“My passion for art formed when I was four, sitting on my grandma’s lap while she painted to ‘Joy of Painting’ instructional videos. The freedom to create whatever runs through your mind is exhilarating. As I began to pursue my own art, I found it hard to get art supplies and attend art classes because truthfully, my family couldn’t afford it. The high school I attend doesn’t see art education as a priority, so I felt stuck teaching myself.                  

When I was admitted into Ryman Arts, all of that changed. Not only was I given art supplies, art classes, and guidance for art college applications, but I made lifelong friendships. Every time I walk into class, I feel at home. Ryman Arts challenges me to bring out the best artist in me and for that I will forever be thankful. I am currently applying for art colleges and wouldn’t be prepared without the guidance of my Ryman Arts teachers.”

Emily is in her second semester at Ryman Arts and is a senior at John Muir High School in Pasadena.

Ryman Arts creates opportunity for recent graduates through our college and career planning.

Bailey S. (Ryman ’18)

Bailey in Foundation Drawing class

“My favorite part about Ryman is that it’s such a well-rounded education for aspiring professional artists. It isn’t just art classes; I have been so thankful for the career days, resume workshops, college fair, guest artists, field trips, and community events like caricature drawing at The Big Draw LA. I want to emphasize the college fair at Otis in Fall 2017. That meant so much to me. The day before I had gone to National Portfolio Day at CalArts, and I left after being there for 4 hours, talking with two colleges for about a minute apiece, not feeling like I came away with anything. The next day at Otis, I talked to the college representatives of my choice, had real, in-depth conversations, and came away with constructive criticism and a good in-person impression from each representative. I’ve gotten so much diverse experience and learning opportunities through Ryman...Ryman is so important and a real, truly powerful force in arts education. It is rare and special. I can never say thank you enough.

Bailey currently attends California College of the Arts.

Bailey’s father accepting the Lucille Ryman-Carroll Student Scholarship in her place at the 2018 graduation, presented by our Board Vice President David A Price

Ryman Arts invigorates Southern California’s creative economy through the contributions of our alumni.  

Kevin C. (Ryman ’06)

Kevin with alumnus Anto T. (Ryman ‘13) at the Disneyana Dinner benefiting Ryman Arts

“My parents emigrated here from the Philippines before I was born, and I grew up in a humble home in Orange County. My father used to draw airplanes on notebook paper for me when I was little. I was fascinated with the concept of drawing. I would also doodle memories of my favorite Disneyland rides especially in Indiana Jones Adventure when the ride vehicle dips under the rolling boulder, eventually designing my own rides. Growing up, my family was only able to afford going to Disneyland a few times, but it was my personal happy place. It was in high school that I learned about Ryman Arts from my teacher, and my monumental journey began. The program was the first to open my world to the creative opportunities that are out there while truly providing a solid foundation of professional-level instruction in fine arts.

Ryman Arts helped inform me on all the options for pursuing a creative degree, beyond the services my high school could provide. I began studying at the Art Institute of CA - Los Angeles but left due to financial reasons. I then enlisted in the US Air Force where I spent over 4 years as an air transportation specialist, deploying to both Iraq and Afghanistan. After my active duty service came to an end, I still wanted to serve others, but I wanted to integrate my passion and talent into the mix, with my love for Disney. I ended up working as a Cast Member at Disneyland as well as becoming a scenic painter for Knott’s Scary Farm’s haunt mazes. I was introduced to the world of immersive themed entertainment and theater design, and I realized that is exactly what I wanted to do. I’ll never forget my roots, and Ryman Arts is firmly planted as one of my core foundations. It’s a family to me. I’m just one story out of thousands – past, present, and future.

Kevin is currently a Production Design intern at Walt Disney Imagineering and in his last year of my undergrad program at CalArts.

During his deployment, Kevin wrote letters Ryman Arts and sent this flag from his time in Iraq

Consider supporting students like Emily, Bailey, and Kevin by donating to Ryman Arts this holiday season. Click here for ways to donate. Your support can transform the lives for creative youth. Thank You.