In every neighborhood, there is someone who makes the Arts a part of their life, and our community. You'd be surprised to discover how many different people use the arts to improve the quality of life in our hometown. EAT MORE ART! VEGAS will feature them regularly in our series "10 Bites."
What kinds of art do you enjoy, create, or perform in?
I am an Actor, writer, and a painter but I practice art in any way I can. I've also in the last year or so gotten more involved in the tech side of theatre through school at UNLV so I've gotten to be involved as a crew member in shows and am set to Assistant Design a show next semester.
Why do you do it?
I do it because I love it and my soul craves art. I also do it because I think art and specifically story telling is crucial for survival. There's so much that we can do and say and I truly believe we can change the world through stories. I also, selfishly do it because I want to see stories that reflect me and my community at the forefront. Latinx people and specifically immigrant stories are still super under-represented in theatre and everywhere and I want to bring those stories to the forefront which is what I'm beginning to do with my writing.
What’s your favorite production/performance experience so far?
Last summer I moved to New York for a few months and a friend of mine was having one of his musicals being read at the Drama League. One of the characters was an undocumented immigrant so he called me in and asked if I'd talk to the production team about my experiences and do some basic dramaturgy. I came in and completely fell in love with the story and characters and then was fortunate enough to read her part for the reading which all just worked out so beautifully and happened over the course of less than a week. What was specifically so memorable about this, was that I got to play a role I identified with completely and the collaborative nature of it all. I would give him feedback or notes and he took them and everyone involved was absolutely wonderful and kind and it was the last thing I did in New York before coming back to Vegas so it felt like I had ended my time there with a golden bow.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist, or what do you do when you are "at work?"
Since I was 17 I've worked in the political/advocacy non-profit world, working on immigration advocacy and electoral outreach geared towards turning out immigrants and young people to elections. Last Legislative Session I worked in Carson City as the attache for Assemblyman Howard Watts. I am currently very fortunate to be the Deputy Director of Dream Big Nevada an organization that serves the immigrant and undocumented community in Nevada. We do a lot of work connecting people to resources available to them, encouraging those who have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to renew, and we also share stories.
What is an Arts experience that you will never forget or a memorable response to your work?
People are so kind! I've had really positive interactions from someone saying that I was their favorite part or one of my favorites is when I invite friends to see my performances who have never seen or been to a theatre and at the end they're like "I want to see more of this."
One of the most memorable is when I was in Middle School, I made a piece of art for class and one of the teachers at school loved it and wanted to buy it. At that point I wrongly thought that to be considered a "real" artist, you had to have people buying your work so to have someone see value in a class assignment I had done and want to buy it made me feel like a real artist for the first time.
What would you be doing if you weren't performing, creating, or enjoying the Arts in Las Vegas?
Even before I knew what theatre was, I was always telling stories. I truly can't imagine a world where I'm not creating or telling stories.
Name something you love about Las Vegas, and why.
I love the community! We have such a beautiful, vibrant, and kind community here which many people who don't live here are surprised to hear because they think of Vegas as a playground but we have the most amazing and supportive community. I've always said it takes a village to make dreams come true and to me, the Las Vegas community is that village.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I've been given a lot of really great advice over the years. One specifically is "your story deserves to be told." I used to, and sometimes still do, get into this really negative place where I think my story doesn't matter or that I shouldn't tell it because someone else can tell it better, but that's not true. Every story deserves to be told and receiving that advice really put me on a path to being more comfortable writing and sharing my story.
What superpower would you have and why?
Teleportation. Because currently, due to my immigration status I'm not able to leave and visit my family in Mexico and I would love to be able to do that and see them.
What future projects are you looking forward to?
Yes! I'm currently working with a group of Latinx performers during quarantine and we're devising a murder-mystery play. It's a super cool project I'm excited about that. I'm also going to be appearing in an episode of a new show called "Dear..." which premieres on Apple TV on June 5th. In the episode, I am one of the people who reads a letter to Lin-Manuel Miranda telling him how much he's inspired me as an immigrant and artist. I'm super excited about that and to see how the episode turned out and just to tell my story.
Check out Dulce Valencia with Lin-Manuel Miranda in Episode 2 of "Dear..." now streaming on Apple TV+.
Are you a local artist of any discipline? Do you work with a company as a designer, stagehand or administrative staff? Do you love to experience it as the audience? We'd love to get your 10 Bites to share. Fill out a form here, and you might be featured in a post!