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Thoughts from our student-artists: Kadeer Wellington

Hello again, true believers! It’s Kadeer, also known as Wellington Estate ( on instagram) or the Jamaican Pineapple, back with an update about my experience in VUMC’s AiR program!

Recently I was asked how I’ve been finding the AiR 2023 experience and I thought I’d put it all out there in this post. So as some (or hopefully all) of you know, I’m a peer mentor in this year’s program since I participated two years ago back in 2021’s run of the program. The experience is definitely different to say the least. This year I had more responsibilities than I did last year, which is fine because I have more time on my hands to work with since this year I have a lot less on my plate. But I don’t want to speak about me just yet, I want to speak about the people I worked with this summer!

There’s not much I can say that’s different from my first blog post about my time leading the HBCU hub. They’re still all very independent and capable people who’ve really been putting the “Excellence” in “Black Excellence”. They also reminded me that black women really get it done. Everyone has been on the ball with their decisions and art and making the right plays before I can even get the word out. As we’re drawing near to the end of the program (pun not intended), everyone’s individual projects are finished and all I can say is, wow. Everyone’s art is remarkable in different ways and as I’ve seen different takes on similar topics, I’ve been reminded of the reason why I love art in the first place. The way that one thing can be interpreted and conveyed in so many different ways will always be a spectacle to me. We all came together to make an ebook and honestly, I think it’s looking great and that we did our labs justice with our artwork. In conclusion, have the women, the people of this HUB been good at their jobs? They’ve been exemplary to say the least.

About half way through the program, I was also appointed to be the peer mentor for the Vanderbilt HUB. Although I haven’t been able to see their projects, I do have high hopes for them because I’m positive that everyone in this program is a capable artist in their own right. Of course, the same applies to them. They seem like incredibly talented people and I think that when I finally do see their presentations, they’re going to knock my socks off.

In terms of my lab, we hadn’t gotten to meet often, which is understandable since they’re lab is conducting so many different projects in order to realize their study. But, I still do wish that we were able to speak more so my partner and I could’ve gotten more of an explanation of what the study was about and how they were conducting it. The reason for that is less for my art and more so that I could feel more connected with the study and the lab. Since it’s a study that centers around potentially helping minorities, I felt a call to action with the study, so it’s a bummer that I couldn’t get to learn more about it.

During my time previously working in the AiR program, I was working multiple internships as well as attending summer school while also trying to maintain a work-life balance. As you could’ve guessed, for a college student that was pretty stressful. This year however, I was only working part-time so I had more freedom to attend sessions. Of course, part-time work is still work and the schedule often made it so that there was a conflict between the program and my job but I did my best to coordinate with Kendra and Jennifer so that they’d understand any and all absences. But we press on nonetheless!

The end of the program is drawing near and all in all, I feel as though this year’s program was a far leap away from the program I participated in previously. The system was different and the schedule was more spacious for me to work in. I heard that last year’s program was the most free schedule between the three years (I would’ve loved to work during that one since that summer was also the most free I’ve had between 2021 to now). I was told that this year was a nice middle ground between the three years so I feel as though I still caught them during a good time. I had fun meeting new people, working with the Dash lab and seeing the different art that everyone came up with. If any artist is looking for a program to participate in during the summer, I’d recommend you participate in the years to come. You could end up liking the experience and pick up a few new skills, I know I did.

With that, true believers, I bid you all adieu. Au revoir! Until we meet again.

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