Olivia Smith, a senior here at Central Dauphin High, is extremely involved all throughout different things in our school and community, and is also a very successful artist. She is a big advocate for equality for everyone and promoting voices for all people. She creates art pieces that makes people want more, leaving them with questions they want to ask. To find out more about how she presents to people to be such a wonderful human all around, I asked her some thought-provoking questions.
What made you feel so strongly about everyone deserving equality?
“My parents have always instilled a sense of equality for all individuals in me, even when I was little. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t believe that I would be the advocate I am today. There was one instance, though, that changed my perspective on prejudice, and showed me how privileged I truly am ( and how I should use that privilege to help others). My mom and I use to watch cops when I was little, and on one episode, a woman called 9-1-1 after someone was threatening her and saying racial slurs. They used the n-word, which I had no idea what it even was. I asked my mom, and she explained it to me in full context. That was the moment I realized that equality was nonexistent today.”
Have you always had the courage to stand up for what you believe in, or did you have to work for it?
“I always have tried to stand up for what I thought was correct, but I had to work on my confidence. I wasn’t always an extrovert, so I had to branch out to be able to speak my mind.”
How do you always stay so positive?
“I always have been a positive person. I know that I’m educated enough to back up my ideals, and I’m always open to discussing a multitude of issues. If people are against my views, then that’s their prerogative. I won’t let a different opinion get me down, because that would not be mature of me.”
Is it for yourself or for those people surrounding you?
“I remain positive for myself mostly. Being a positive person keeps me going through the difficulties of high school. I have tried to inspire people through it.”
Was it hard to start getting involved in so many clubs and activities and to become such a big part of them?
“I love the clubs and extracurriculars I am a part of. It was not difficult for me to join all of them, because I knew where my interests laid. They become overwhelming at times, but I make it work by making sure that none of them clash with times, and that I want to get out what I put into them. I sincerely enjoy all of my clubs, because the positions I have held have taught me a great deal about myself as a young woman in society.”
Do you have a topic or issue you feel the strongest about or are they all equal?
“Overall, I want more social representation of different ethnicities and races. In television and movies, it is hard to find more than one person of color casted in a significant role. I want more of that. I want there to be more cultures represented, because I want more Americans to be able to relate to daytime television. I also want to learn from those roles. I enjoy learning from different cultures in any way I can, and I feel as though having more races documented significant roles will help to bridge that gap.”
Who is someone that you look up to and who inspires you to be so confident in what you believe in?
“The number one person that inspires me is my art teacher at the Art Association of Harrisburg, Gabe Middleton. I have taken his classes since seventh grade, and his impact on my life has extraordinary results. His passion for art and music helped me to finally understand the significance of my position as an artist, and helped me decide to stick with art as a career. Gabe is always positive and has pushed me further and further towards my goals to becoming a versatile, education creator. I understand art because of him, and I owe it to him to create important works for the world to see.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“It is actually quite hard for me to become truly inspired. I can go months on end without creating anything specific outside of art class. When I become inspired, which happens randomly, I create a bunch of work. I get inspired from mature, clothing, movies, television,graphic design, architecture, color combinations, my friends, animals, graphic novels, literature, and graffiti, to name a few. I have a goal to create more, even when I am not inspired.”
What is your biggest dream that you want to attempt to fulfill?
“I want to become happy with what I choose to pursue. I know that through art, I will find my style and niche, but that will take years and years of figuring out. My dream is to be able to become an artist with multiple faceted skills, so I do not get bored with what I do. I wish to create clothing, design, create murals, make social statements with art, and, of course, inspire others. I have confidence that I will pursue all of those dreams one day.”
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
“I’m extremely proud of being an artist. Since I have developed my artistic integrity, I have been more open-minded and happy with the social decisions I have made. Being an artist, I have the creative liberty to speak out against injustices that plague our population, and the power to current situations. I hope to inspire others with my artwork to do the same.”
Hearing the thoughts that are in her head shows how much of a humble person she really is. She is an inspiration to people all throughout the community and it would be a happier school if more people could be as open minded as her. She presents herself well to others and is someone who tons of people feel comfortable going to to talk or for advice.