Inside the COMPAS Studio with Michael Salazar


No one really tells you how scary post-college is. Maybe I’m more susceptible to the fear of the unknown or maybe I was tuned out during “the real world kinda sucks” portion of my senior seminar. Either way, the second I left the halls of my collegiate classrooms I was more anxious than an influencer at a music festival with two percent battery.

Fortunately, like a portable charger, COMPAS came into my life and brought that percentage back to one hundred. Like most 20-somethings, I started as an intern – wide-eyed and ready to take on the world… or at least anyone that’s willing to take a chance on someone with less than a year of experience. I only knew a handful of things about COMPAS. I knew they loved orange, they worked with artists and the office was located in a castle (AKA St. Paul’s Landmark Center). As I started to write stories, meet artists and attend events, I soon realized that COMPAS is unlike any other organization I had heard of.

Bedside art with patients at Children’s Hospital, mural paintings on bridge underpasses, juggling with professional circus artists – it all came together in my four years of being with COMPAS – all that and more.

I start a new journey at the University of Minnesota soon. As I look back at everything, I know I’ll never be able to fully repay COMPAS for the knowledge, experience and joy it’s brought me over the years, but at the very least I can say thank you. Thank you for taking a chance on me. Thank you for fueling my coffee addiction. And most importantly, thank you for giving life-changing art to people who truly need it, including me. This world can be a very dark place, but it makes me happy to know COMPAS is one of the many lights that shine through that darkness.    

COMPAS… you rock, never change.

-Michael Salazar