By Polo Munoz, Managing Editor

Artists are a rare breed, not odd, but different in a way most do not understand. They discover their own talent before many see it, accept it, and appreciate it. Sadly many artists do not receive the support they require to develop it to their full potential. There is a certain dismissiveness in society which may be attributed to envy or protection from their own longing to continue their path as an artist after they’ve adopted a “normal” gig. This is especially true in communities where there is little room for pursuit of passion due to lack of resources such as money or even something as simple as people to offer a helping hand, or sofa when necessary. The stories of those passionate enough to suffer for their art are abundant, but when these same artists truly succeed, it is something epic and, for those still in the middle of their artistic journey, it can be illuminating to see others succeed on the same path they have decided to pursue. 

I was first introduced to multi-talented artist Goya Robles by another multi-talented artist, Lidia Porto, both of whom are integral to the ensemble cast of the hit EPIX tv show Get Shorty, headlining alongside other multi-talented artists, Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd. This is the product when artisans of a certain caliber and integrity collaborate to tell stories to beautify a world that at this moment is struggling with its identity while being polluted by those whose icy focus is to divide and destroy our humanity.

When Lidia, whose creative resume would require a whole stand-alone article simply to list, first introduced us to Goya, it was so that we could share in some of her light and expand the network for the students we work via our education project, Creating Creators. Miss Porto has generously dedicated up her time to organizations in support of the work which art programs do in schools. She has visited many classrooms to lead acting workshops, which have been instrumental in not only helping students discover acting, but also finding their center and learning to be more present during their school day, both in class and beyond. We have witnessed the results, her work is transformative, just as Goya Robles’ work has been. 

Goya maneuvered through his academic experience as many students do, reluctantly but effectively. At a moment in his academic career he attended a continuation high school, which may be why he connected with our students at Mt. Olive High School, a continuation school in Duarte Unified School District. Mr. Robles had been wanting to visit a school for a while, but class and production schedules seldom aligned, but when they finally did, during his visit the students were transformed by his openness and captivated by his personal story. A moment of lucidity for the students occurred immediately after Goya departed when we were discussing his visit and his career and it was casually mentioned that Goya had attended a continuation school as they were now. The room peaked in an emotion that can only be described as joy. Hope was reinvigorated and their work became more serious and calculated. Our mission at Creating Creators is, as Co-Founder and CEO Jessica Just says, “to bring back the love of learning into the classroom and reinsert rigor into the curriculum.” Goya did just that for those Mt. Olive students, it was immediately felt in their work and in the spirit of the students especially when the going got tough. 

We are beyond thrilled that Goya Robles has continued his support by making Creating Creators the beneficiary of his Paint the Mic fundraising event. This event is a passion project that allows Goya to remain connected to his artistic roots as a poet and to provide a platform for other performers to volunteer a moment of their precious time to create more opportunity for others, whom I truly believe one day will pay it forward in kind.

Join us for this unique event, click on this link to get tickets for $60 online and a limited amount of tickets will be available at the door for $75, funds will go to support the work in the classrooms and you can visit the social media sites of Creating Creators to see the direct results of your collaboration. See you there….