Seattle Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Intern Anh Sy Explores Creative Advantage Summer Online Arts

By Anh Sy, SYEP intern

About The Creative Advantage Online Arts (CAOA):

The Creative Advantage Online Arts videos were created as a quick pivot in response to COVID-19, with goals to support students and families during school closures, as well as supporting teacher artists who had been hired to lead school day residences. CAOA includes videos of various teaching styles and artistic disciplines, while teaching artists share tutorials on breakdancing, papercraft, African dance and drumming, and more.

We asked our SYEP intern, Anh, to participate in some of the CAOA videos, make some art, and share what she learned in the process. Take a look at his thoughts below!


Overall, I realized that when watching these videos, I was usually concentrating and really listening to what the instructors or teaching artists were talking about and trying to show. Sometimes I watched the videos and also followed the instructions with them at the same time. Watching these videos, following the instructions and doing the same as the artists in the videos made me feel like I was learning virtually or even that I was in the same learning space/room as the artists.

Poetry – “Remember…” with Shelby Handler

This video helped define me – let me know who I am, who I want to become, and what type of person I want to be. When I grow up, will I be tall or short? Will I be wise enough to accept every immediate incident that is unexpected? Will I be able to solve every problem wisely? Where did I get my strange nose and mind shape from? Will I be a doctor — helping people and my community improve their health and that of my family? Or will I be an engineer — spending all day in front of a computer? Or will I work in an office? What type of person will I become? Who will I become? I am a person who is always confused and curious about the world. I will be myself so that even whatever happens in my life that I may not know, and even that I do not expect, I will always be calm to face it.

Paper Lanterns with Amaranta Sandys

It was fun and entertaining! I enjoyed making this art project following the instructions of Amaranta Sandys. I made a lantern as a form of joy and decoration that will bring more light and color to my house.

Observational Imagination Drawing with Maria Valdovinos

I enjoyed learning new ways of drawing using my observation and imagination to create a new type of artwork.

Paper butterflies with Maria Valdovinos

It reminded me of one of the origami lessons I learned in my home country as a subject – making paper butterflies – and also one of the motivations that inspired me to create art and work at the Office of Arts and Culture in Seattle.

African Dance + Drum – Che Che Koolay with Sumayya E. Diop

I enjoyed learning a new style of West African music with Sumayya – it’s a kind of song that is about a person, your family member or friend etc., with very simple lyrics, melody and dance.

Drawing an isometric grid with Amina Quraishi

I enjoyed learning a new art style with Amina – a different type of drawing with patterns. Using triangles and an isometric grid, I can create many different shapes and illustrations on a sheet of paper. It can be a 2D illustration of a pattern or a simple 3D project on a sheet of paper.

Anh isometric grid

Paper Reels with Amaranta Sandys

I loved making art! I had a toy and it reminded me of another childhood memory of mine, pinwheels!

Anh’s pinwheel made of paper and a pencil

Papel Picado with Maria Valdovinos

I had a fun and satisfying time making paper flowers and creating art with Maria! Through this video lesson and creative process, I also learned the structure of flowers and wanted to create artwork in different ways. Although I didn’t have enough materials to make all the flowers Maria taught in the video, I still enjoyed the process.

Anh’s Paper Flower

Portrait Using Color with Janet Fagan

I enjoyed creating my own portrait project. Although I wasn’t very happy with the result, it was worth spending time learning and exploring new things and using color bits to represent myself on paper.

Anh’s portrait created from colored pieces of paper

Tools and Tips for Drawing Portraits with Janet Fagan

I finally learned to draw and sketch a portrait of myself, which I thought was the hardest part of the art of drawing. So incredible !

Self-portrait of Anh’

Percussion with Aaron Walker-Loud (Challenge 2)

Drums or percussion is another style of art and music, and I learned about different rudimentary patterns, rhythms, and “feel” (straight and swing). It broadened my perspective and my knowledge of drums and music!

Ryan H. Bowman