Jieru Shi, Sparks of Creativity

Jieru Shi is a high school student living in Fairfax, Virginia.  Jieru started Sparks of Creativity because she has always loved to draw, however, she was discouraged from pursuing her passion because she felt like she wasn’t talented enough. Looking back, she believes her lack of confidence stemmed from receiving no encouragement from her art teachers to express her individuality, but rather, to conform within the “standards” of art.

Jieru took that experience to build her project. She says, “I wanted to do something that will give students the encouragement they need to keep going; the kind of encouragement I did not receive when I was little.”

Sparks of Creativity promotes individuality among youth all over the world. Jieru wants to encourage students to pursue their passions and interests in creative and performing arts. With monthly contests and a year-end magazine, Sparks of Creativity gives youth of all levels a chance to show off their talents. Their website also reaches out to an international audience, giving youth the opportunity to discover and appreciate works by students from different countries. Already, Jieru has reached out to hundreds of students from around the world with the use of social media, namely Instagram. She has featured many artists on the website and also hopes to create a magazine and distribute it for free.

To learn more about Sparks of Creativity, visit their Instagram and website.

GRANT AWARD DATE: February 19, 2015