Future Visions: Interview with Graduating ArtLab Intern Leilani Abeyta

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This spring six ArtLab interns will graduate from high school. In celebration of their growth, commencement and future we will feature an intern interview each week!

At PlatteForum we believe that youth voice is essential to a more just and equitable world. Over the course of the Class of 2018’s time with us they have built community, supported each other through high school growing pains, worked hard to complete their course work and apply to college, marched in rallies and protests. In ArtLab they have dared to articulate a vision of a better world through their art by challenging our cultural narratives in America. Cheers to the leadership of the ArtLab Interns!

Leilani at her senior art showcase this past April. 
Watch the time-lapse of Leilani’s large scale painting HERE.

Future Visions: Interview with Leilani Abeyta
Colorado Academy, Class of 2018
Maryland Institute College of Art, Class of 2022

What are you proud of in this last year of high school?

Taking myself seriously as an artist and pushing myself to take the initiative. Knowing myself as an artist and bringing that into all I do. Seeing artists in the studio at PlatteForum has helped me learn that being a professional artist is a possibility.

What will you miss about ArtLab?
So many things! The environment because it’s so focused on youth voice….the people and getting to learn so many things from one another and all the artists.

Something you love about yourself?
I’m a good artist!

Sweetest thing?
The feeling of being with people you love so much. And laughing. Laughing so hard together.

What is your hope your generation? Where would you like to see America going?
I hope our generation takes ourselves seriously in order to be taken seriously. Showing people that our generation is capable. I want us to inspire others to create change.

What possibilities excite you about your future? 
Moving to Baltimore and going to my first choice college. In the future I’m excited to pursue residencies, showing my work in galleries and doing community-based art projects with youth.

Is there anything else you want to share?
Something that is really important to me is community, empathy and understanding. I believe that the ability to empathize even when it’s hard and you disagree with the other person opens up our eyes to that fact that we are all human. We distance ourselves from other people and that allows us to dehumanize each other. We need to respect others and remember that we are all human beings.

Photorealist paintings Leilani created for her senior showcase at Colorado Academy.