COMPAS Youth Boost with Donveyea Watson

Our second interview catching up with past ArtsWork and ArtScope participants who spent time as arts apprentices with COMPAS artists. Let's see what the experience meant to Donveyea who was a participant in 2009.

Do you remember how you first became interested in the arts?

I became interested in the arts at a summer enrichment program known as LearningWork at Blake High school. This program exposed me to different forms of the performing arts such as cultural dancing and improv acting. In addition to that, I took a creative writing class which is where I developed a strong interest in poetry, particularly spoken word poetry. As my interest grew I looked for opportunities to recite my poetry. I later got that chance during my freshmen year of college when I became a member of the Falcon Poetry Club.

What years were you in ArtsWork – what did you do?

I was involved in ArtsWork in 2009. During my time with ArtsWork I had the opportunity to be a Theater Apprentice at Dreamland Arts in St. Paul. In this role I worked with my co-workers to create a play production entitled “Gather Her Leaves”, learned how to operate lighting and sound equipment, and assisted with promoting the play through social media network Facebook.

How do you think ArtsWork made an impact on you that a “regular” job wouldn’t have?

My experiences in ArtsWork truly allowed me to expand my creativity as well as gave me room to learn and grow as an aspiring artist and business leader. I appreciate being able to create and implement my ideas into the work I was involved in, which is not always something guaranteed with a “regular” job.

Besides gaining artistic skills, what did you learn during your time with ArtsWork?

I learned the value of being a team player in the work environment. I also gained experience with how to efficiently deal with difficult situations, or rather how to be comfortable being uncomfortable in order to get the job done. But the most significant thing I learned was how to fully develop ideas using innovation and collaboration.

How did working with a mentor artist affect your choice of education and/or work?

Having a mentor artist encouraged me to attend college and study business administration so that I could one day own an art or entertainment business. Furthermore, the mentor relationship I formed with COMPAS artist Zaraawar Mistry, founder of Dreamland Arts, provided me professional and personal guidance that helped position me to do well in the working world.

What are you doing now?

I recently graduated from Saint Augustine’s University (located in Raleigh, NC) with my B.S. in Business Administration. I’m now working in Washington, D.C as a Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, a management consulting firm that provides management, technology and security services, primarily to civilian government agencies. My work mainly consists of helping my clients solve some of their toughest problems using management consultant strategies such as strategic communications and organization improvement.

Did your involvement with COMPAS play a role in that choice?

Not directly. Although, I do believe my experiences in ArtsWork played a part in helping me prepare for my current role. The communication and team building skills I gained during my time as a Theater Apprentice has helped me be able to effectively deal with different personalities in a team setting.

Where do you hope to be with your work in 10 years?

In 10 years I hope to be an author of an autobiography and poetry book. With the consultant knowledge and experiences I gain I would like to start a nonprofit focused on the arts. I also want to combine my interest in spoken word poetry and motivational speaking to empower and inspire others. Ultimately, what is most important to me in regards to my work is finding ways to give back to my community by using my creativity and business capabilities.