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My name is Shaniece, and I attend Gotham Professional Arts Academy, which is a college-preparatory high school focusing on the arts and arts-related professions. I am originally from Trinidad, but I moved to the United States in 2005, where I lived in San Bernardino, California before moving to my current home in Brooklyn, New York.

Moving to New York really changed my life. I had always loved art and music, but when I moved here, my passion for these things intensified. Art was no longer just something in a museum that was really intriguing, it became my life equation. Now it seems that everything I do somehow becomes a conversation about art. From my math class to my history class, I can see art in everything, and it has become the basis of almost every conversation I have. This past summer I went on an exchange program to Japan, and it really opened my eyes and changed my perspective of the world. I fell in love with the art and architechiture of old temples—the perfect balance between ancient and modern. It truly inspired me to look at life and art in a new way and exposed me to new types of art.

Art plays an immense role in my life and it is one of the main sources of my inspiration along with music, which I believe is a form of art in itself. Just like visual art, the musical arrangement that you are listening to can alter your mood so you feel what the artist feels. Music has a story and you can interpret it in any way you please.

What brought me to Youth Insights is my love for the arts and wanting a first hand experience in the arts. Art in the classroom is great, but being able to meet people in the art world and interact with them is what really drew me in. Once I was in, what kept me here was the environment that I stepped into each time I came to the Whitney. Looking at a work and discussing it was no longer a daunting task—and that was obvious in my life. People close to me began to notice a change in me. My confidence level improved and my outlook on life changed with it. I have really loved being here for the past two and a half years, and it really saddens me that I have to leave when I graduate from high school. Don’t worry though, I have a master plan. I will go off to college, study hard, and when I graduate, I’ll be back!