Every person I know that went to Booker T Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts thinks back with tremendous fondness on their time spent learning, engaging, and building their personal arts community. A lot of my friends that I have now are the same ones I met in those halls between classes and rehearsals over 20 years ago. The educational foundation, arts training, and the sense of artist community I got from Arts Magnet are absolutely invaluable, so I’ve always wanted to do something in return.
I’m a film and tv composer in Los Angeles and NYC, and my manager and I often get hit up by young musicians looking to navigate the treacherous waters of pursuing a career in the creative arts. I try my best to respond to each of them with advice or critique of their work, or just offer the friendly commiserating ear of a working musician. I also participate in a mentoring program at a performing arts high school in LA in collaboration with Fox Studios and Robert Kraft (Fox Film Music). Since I spend a good portion of my time on this, I wondered why I wouldn’t do the same for my fellow young Arts students and alums?
Mark Waggoner (Visual Arts, ’93) and I met with Principal Rudes, the admin board, and a number of faculty earlier this year when I was in Dallas and the seed for this arts mentoring program was born. The site is really nothing more than a place to contact Arts alums that have continued their cluster work well into professional fields. It’s for current students and recent alums to have the great resource of a professional in their field to ask one-on-one questions, to get advice, and make a personal contact. It’s something I never really had coming up in the music world, but something I always felt I could really use. We’re gathering some of the top-level working creatives in their fields, homegrown right at 2510 Flora St., Dallas, TX.
– Darius Holbert (Music, Visual Arts, ’92)