In 2020, Yo Soy LOLA net proceeds funded two $3,000 scholarships for Latina-identifying artists pursuing higher education in the arts with goals that directly impact their communities. Help us support young Latinas develop the skills necessary to succeed in artistic careers.
Make a Tax-Deductible donation today for this year!
Read all about our 2020 scholarship recipients below and get a glimpse of their work, dreams, and goals.
Helly Sánchez is a creative of Venezuelan origin. While living in Venezuela, Helly worked under Leslie Sánchez as a photographer’s assistant. Though she developed her artistry while working at “Leslie Photography,” she still considers herself an apprentice, as she continues to seek education.
Throughout her life, Helly has always relied on the art of photography to remind her of the beauty her eyes see in the world despite adversity. After immigrating to the United States to seek further opportunities and a better future, she enrolled in Bunker Hill Community College. While attending BHCC and taking Visual Design, she is setting her sights on forward momentum and plans to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts and Photography at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Maria Carolina's involvement in the arts began when she was a child. She developed a passion for music and drawing while living in Venezuela, where she was born, though she has now lived in East Boston for half of her life.
Through her devotion to improving her artistic skills, Maria was privileged to attend Boston’s only performing arts high school, Boston Arts Academy, as a Visual Arts major. There, she was able to learn techniques in different mediums and exhibit her work in various galleries. Additionally, she was lucky to belong to ZUMIX, an organization dedicated to building community through music and the arts to empower youth, where she took voice and guitar lessons. Her art-making became more therapeutic, uncovering layers of colonization and trauma. Such work led her to use her art as a way of expression, visualization, reflection, and healing. Maria Carolina is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University. Her mission is to be the catalyst for others to begin their journey of healing through the therapeutic arts.
Michelle Garcia Fresco
Michelle Garcia Fresco is an Afro-Latinx poet and organizer based in Boston. She is currently a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and is double majoring in Creative Writing and Sociology.
Michelle believes in the power of poetry as a medium for social justice, and her writing is often inspired by the women in her family, social and racial injustice in America, the challenges of coping with loss and mental health, and by her Dominican roots.
Michelle is an alumni of Louder Than A Bomb, a MassLeap board member, and an organizer, as well as the Youth Liaison and Youth programmer at the House Slam. She tends to see herself, though, as just a battle rapper with social justice bars.
Viviana Williams is a senior at Roxbury Prep High School and will be graduating as this year’s valedictorian. Fueled by the injustices and racial disparities found within our society, her poetry and fashion design give voice to the struggles of those around her and offer a glimpse into her experience as an Afro-Latina. She moulds these voices into artwork that cannot be ignored as she works to help her community understand women of color and their intersectionality.
Viviana aspires to be a leader for women of color and is passionate about raising awareness of Afro-Latinx identities. Through her art, she hopes to foster unison in her community and to encourage individuals to accept all parts of their identity.