CHCA Students Shine at Artivism Residency

upward bound artwork

Cedar Hill Sophomores Get Artsy Over Spring Break

For some, spring break means hanging out with friends at the beach.

And while soaking up some sun is always fun, a couple of Cedar Hill Collegiate Academy sophomores, Eryn Kinard and Jocelyn Rodriguez, spent their spring break hanging out with a different crowd as part of the Artivism Residency in Dallas.

Artivism is a youth-driven program that explores artistic storytelling aligned with advocacy and activism. They connect with other participants across DFW and worked to create a showcase. Some of the work they did was creating masks and performing original monologues.

“Artivisim was a fun social awareness art program where we talked about a range of topics from renaissance vs. the modern world, men, and Tiktok,” Eryn said with a smile.
Because of COVID-19, the Residency was mostly held on Zoom with five calls of three hours each. However, there was also the option of an in-person “capture day” during which they took photos of their works and presented them at the Dallas headquarters.

The program was hosted by the nonprofit organization Big Thought. Eryn and Jocelyn were recommended by their theatre arts teacher at CHCA, Samantha Dunaway.

eryn kinard artwork

Exploring Big Ideas While Expressing Themselves

“I am incredibly proud of how these young women took the initiative and the leap of faith. I feel that this year has left many of our young people feeling lost and exposed,” Dunaway said. “A project like this is wonderful because it connects them with the community and fellow young artists, allows them to explore big ideas, learn more about their own craft and abilities, creatively express themselves in a safe environment, and ultimately make a difference.”

Eryn created a piece of art themed around crying and needing someone to be there to help you out. Jocelyn’s showcase was about a familiar object, one that you would see in any home – a spoon.

“I wanted an almost whimsical but familiar sort of vibe, along with some symbolism of the spoon, by using silver elements,” Jocelyn said. “I wrote about it in a poem that showed the feeling of a spoon, and how some people are similar to a spoon, and how they can overcome anything, achieving and be who they want.”

Eryn added, “My monologue was an emotional piece, so performing it was really hard since I felt vulnerable and overdramatic. But making my mask was so much fun. I burnt my fingers a few times trying to dry the glue, but overall it was a really relaxing experience.”

A Great Distraction From The Pandemic

And there was the fun of interacting with other like-minded youths, they said.

“It was really fun meeting so many new people and hearing their ideas and opinions. They were all really respectful too, so no one felt uncomfortable speaking their mind.” Eryn said.

“Artivisim was such a fun way to take my mind off the pandemic and everything going on. Everyone was really positive and cheerful and they even laughed at my really bad jokes,” she continued, chuckling. “ I’d recommend Artivisim to anyone even somewhat interested in fine arts as it works as a great segue. I really hope to go back next year.”

jocelyn rodriguez

Finding Connections Through Creativity

To which Jocelyn added “I enjoyed working with all types of students. There were all sorts of different types of artists but we all connected and had fun together.”

Eryn said her dream career is to be a character design artist for video games or TV shows.

As for Jocelyn’s career, “I really want to help people, but there are so many varieties of helping. But for now I want to experience what I can and put myself out there.”
Eryn and Jocelyn were also awarded $250 each for completing the Residency. Their work is available to view online at


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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters