Paula Lee is simply phenomenal. In 2005, as a West High School student, she dreamed of creating culinary delights as a chef. Today, she works with one of the top ten website and development companies in Colorado in quality assurance, returned to college and declared her computer science major at Metro State. What transformed her artistic visions into technical reality? She became a participant at Arts Street.
At Arts Street, Paula got hands-on training in cutting edge computer and media programs. Teaching visual arts workshops to young children — picture vibrant wall murals and colorfully decorated trash cans — Lee also found time to put together an animated short film calledThe Average Asian using green screen technology. Thanks to the training from her Arts Street instructor and the nonprofit program’s technical resources, she utilized the editing program called Final Cut Pro. She also learned good fundamentals, including how to analyze the movie making process and outline her film using storyboards. Her final product debuted locally at the Buntport Theater, and connected her with her current employer.
Mentored by Arts Street Executive Director Stella Yu, Paula appreciated the networking opportunities afforded by Stella’s extensive partnerships in the Denver community. Through these networks, and by marketing herself as a “fast learner,” Paula found her first job, as a dental assistant in an office where Ms.Yu had connections.
Articulate, intelligent, and confident, Paula emerged from her Arts Street experiences motivated to stay involved. She has been working closely with Ms. Yu and the Board of Directors to organize and promote an Arts Street alumni association, encouraging young alums to stay in touch and give back. She propelled the group into launching “Cinebites”, an annual fundraising event for Arts Street that encourages and showcases new film-makers. She also serves on the Arts Street board as board secretary.
“Arts Street formed me into the person I am now,” Paula states matter-of-factly. The organization provided her with the technical skills to read code, the artistic skills to support her creative drive, and the practical experiences to widen her horizons and open doors to a variety of employment opportunities. Thanks to Arts Street, and more than a little bit of her own self-determination, there is no limit to what Paula can personally or professionally achieve. To hear a young woman speak in the same breath about her love for “reading code” on the computers and her passion for helping young people stay plugged into the arts, it brings even the jaded among us a large dose of hope.
– Paula Lee IS Arts Street.