Meet Free Arts Alum Jacob

Jacob’s face is warm and almost familiar-looking.  He greets everyone with a smile and a gentle hug.  Jacob, age 19, has come a long way from the 13-year-old camper at Free Arts’ Theater Camp.  He recalls, “It was my first time being away from my family so I was scared.  Not stubborn…just scared.”  Jacob just couldn’t take the big leap to performing in front of his peers on stage, so, the Free Arts Program Coordinator took Jacob aside and showed him what it meant to work backstage.  “After I learned to work the light and sound board, I was in love,’ he says.  Jacob now regularly meets up with his fellow Free Arts alumni at monthly alumni nights.  The group began a little more than 5 years ago as a chance for alumni to connect, continue developing their artistic skills, and work on professional development.  Alumni share their day-to-day happenings and support one another in achieving their personal goals.  It was this support that helped Jacob overcome his stage fright.  Six years after his first attempt at performing, he found himself on stage again, in front of his peers and family, performing at the first Free Arts Alumni Open Mic Night.  He remembers this as one of his proudest moments.  “Just finding the courage to stand in front of them was a lot,” he states.  Now Jacob explores his self-expression with a variety of art forms and cultures, especially in music and dance.  To him, art is about “the desire and passion to create something that is unique and individual.”  Jacob uses his passion to tell his personal story.  But he wants to let everyone know, through that familiar smile, “The story is just getting started.”