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Carla Christina Contreras

No one ever told me growing up that I could be an artist. Sure, they hung my art projects on the fridge, but I felt the expectations of others to choose a profession that was NON-art. I received a degree in business – I was good with academics – and my college education didn’t include any art training. I used to walk through the art department at California State University, Long Beach and stare through the windows wondering what it would be like to study art. I was completely stuffing away the part of myself that was most ALIVE and vibrant, confident, fun and enthusiastic.

Somehow, I managed to stoke the artistic flames within through the years, and today, besides authoring a children’s book, I am an accomplished fine art photographer and a commissioned muralist and canvas painter. One day, I decided to walk away from Corporate America to figure out how to make a living doing what I love.

Growing up in the sixties and seventies in southern California was an enriching time in public schools. Creative arts were available and included in curriculum. Play dough, crayons, clay, finger paints, construction paper, and more were plentiful tools in the world of teaching. It was during this time that I discovered a piece of my own power … I could create. It gave me a lot of confidence as a kid and touched a part of my soul that can only be described as vibrant and divine. I have no idea who I would be if I hadn’t discovered ME through the arts.

When I hear about the removal o

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