Connections Creative is a creative and social enterprise track for transition-age artists from under-resourced communities across San Diego County. The purpose is to inspire these artists to help identify their career interests, expand skillsets, and pursue careers that are meaningful. Connections Creative provides young aspiring artists with an opportunity to build upon their innate artistic abilities with a paid work experience that includes mentorship activities with working artists and industry professionals, support in creating a portfolio of work for professional development all while producing pieces of art along the way. Art pieces from Connections Creative focuses on themes affecting TAY to elevate awareness of the barriers under-resourced communities regularly face.

The young and talented artists of Connections Creative hosted a virtual art event to display and promote their amazing work. Below is an excerpt supporting this event and artist portfolios:

“Connections Creative has been a platform for creativity and relationship building for this group of talented artists. While working with different mediums, exploring business skills, and developing our brands as professional artists, we formed a community and grew as entrepreneurs. Although the virtual nature of this program had its challenges, it allowed us to be innovative and think outside of the box when learning and creating art. Thanks to the YMCA, we’ve grown as both artists and friends. We thank you for participating in the first and hopefully not last- virtual art show for Connections Creative!”


Meet the artists

Kaylani B. (she/her/they/them)

I’m Kaylani! I am a self-taught 22-year-old artist from sunny San Diego. I'm also an art multimedia graduate from San Diego State University. Whether it is paintings, customize shoes or caps, digital art, makeup art, or illustrations, I do it all! I have had a passion for art since I could remember picking up a pencil. My mission is to create work that inspires others to create, but most of my art pushes to shine light on wellness and mental health. Furthermore, seeing the beauty in pain and trying to spread positivity. Creative Connections has allowed me to do so and build my skills as an entrepreneur, an artist, and a person in general. Skills that have allowed me to network with others and create art for many different people. If my art can bring a smile to someone’s face whatever it is or able to express my emotions when words cannot, then I did my job.
See more of Kaylani's work:


Gregory R. (he/they)

My name is Gregory and I am a San Diego raised, non-binary artist of color. My work is a reflection of personal experiences related to queer life, sociopolitics, mental health, and community culture. I use my skills as an illustrator to create comics, animations, photo collages, zines, and print work as a method of activism. I’m inspired by alternative culture, DIY, punk-centered, occult, and anarchist/communist philosophy. Right now, my goal is to develop narrative art and animated films that challenge political institutions and systems of white-male-capitalist supremacy.
See more of Gregory's work:



Kendra G. (she/her)

Hi! I’m Kendra and I’m a 23-year-old artist from San Diego. I’ve been drawing since I was a child. I later achieved an associate's degree in studio arts at the age of 21 and proceeded to gain experience around helping the community. The mediums I work with range from digital art to traditional art to sewing up stuffed animals. I am always up for trying new things to improve my work as an artist and become more productive. My goal as a storyteller and artist, whether working for myself and for others, is to create a story that perfectly describes my vision or the other visions clearly and respectfully. I am driven by my own determination and other artists to reach my goals as a creator. One day, I hope to motivate other artists the way they have motivated me.

See more of Kendra's work:


Samantha M. (she/her/hers)

I am a 20-year-old Mexican artist with an open mind. I have been dancing since I was 16. I am also a poet! I love making art and utilizing it as a form of expression, I am passionate about activating my own voice to support others who don’t have a voice. I make art as a form of protest that aims to bring awareness to various social issues that have impacted myself and others around me. I work hard to encourage others to keep trying and never give up.





Marco C. (he/him/his)

All my art starts with its idea. The drawings, edits, paintings, and the experimental stuff all out of my head. It's so natural to me. I've worked with art for so long that it's built into me. Can't picture a nice life without being surrounded by art.









Jazmine P. (she/her/they/them)

I am a 25-year-old Chicanx freelance artist born and raised in Southeast San Diego. My preferred medium is acrylic, but I like to experiment in all mediums. Throughout my years as an artist my work developed and changed in alignment within myself. My art is a reflection of my identity, my culture, my life experiences and my environment. From this, I create illustrations and paintings telling stories or carry a message and utilize my skills to bring awareness on social justice issues. I explore using a colorful vibrant palette to give my art life and implement symbolism as a way to create a meaningful message and connection to the self. I’m inspired by all nature and living species as they too, carry symbolism of importance. My culture is another influence that inspires me, so I try to embrace and honor in every artwork I create.
See more of Jazmine's work: