My name is Nonnie Williams and I’ve lived
in Detroit my entire life. My parents went into real estate when I was
little, so I kind of lived all over Detroit. I live with my mom. My dad still lives in our childhood home on
McEntire. I’m hanging with the fellas. I go to Henry Ford Academy School for Creative
Studies and I’ll be in 12th grade, so it’s my last year in high school. And my interests include anything within the
arts. Art is really important to me because I feel
like it’s one of the few things in this world that doesn’t have rules or regulations. We’re already categorized and boxed in by
so many numbers and statistics daily and it’s nice to have a break from that and really
be able to capitalize on your individuality. Too often I feel that you have to stay inside
the lines and at the Y, you don’t have to. You’ll see that there’s beauty and creativity
in being different and I feel like that’s what everybody needs when they’re looking
for a home. Boll Family YMCA is my Y and I’m a proud Y
kid. I was introduced to Y Arts Detroit through
my mom who works in Member Services at the front desk. Okay, I’ve got it. You’ve got it? I’ve always grown up in the Y. I’ve had a lot of family that worked in the
Y. My aunt is a fitness instructor and still
is. She’s worked for the Y 12 years. And my mom knows that I’m interested in art,
so she just told me about the program to see if I was interested, and of course I was. So I was able to do the media program and
I was able to do the improv program which I brought to my school. Y Arts is the arts and humanities branch of
the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit. Our goal is to help grow the creative community
and connect community members with arts events and educational opportunities. We also like to help emerging artists. So these are just a few of the art pieces
that I have in my home. These are a lot of my earlier works. This is a necklace that I made in honor of
Black History Month. This is my first two-point perspective drawing. This is my first time ever experimenting with
color. Nonnie was involved with two different Y Arts
programs and in both cases, it was really great to have her with us because she’s so
creative and excited about what she’s doing. It was very infectious and she ends up leading
by joy. Well, Y Arts has really benefited me by giving
us really a platform and a voice to be ourselves and it’s really a safe place to gain exposure
and a sense of community and belonging. And you really get to explore the different
cultures–the diverse cultures of Detroit. Art is truly important to me because it really
is an alternate language and in communities, especially communities like Detroit where
there’s so much negativity and violence being depicted in the media, I think it’s nice for
us to take some of those eyesores like abandoned buildings and turn them into art pieces that
are actually beautiful things to see in the city and not only for ourselves but for others
coming into the city to see there’s more to Detroit than just statistics. It’s my home city and I love it.