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Spotlight Series: Unmasking Creativity with Fredy Gomez Cruz

Updated: 2 days ago

Welcome back to the Spotlight Series on the Bocón blog, where we delve into the stories of the incredible teaching artists who shape our vibrant community. Today, we shine the spotlight on Fredy Gomez Cruz, a multifaceted talent whose journey from Mexico City to the stages of San Diego encapsulates the transformative power of art.

From Engineering to the Stage

Fredy's artistic journey is as compelling as it is unconventional. Originally pursuing engineering, Fredy's path took a dramatic turn after participating in a production of "Pirates of Penzance" during college. This experience at MiraCosta's Actor's Academy—a five-week intensive—unveiled his true passion. "I fell in love with the emotional freedom I allowed myself to have on stage," Fredy shares, illustrating his transition from engineering to becoming a full-time actor, singer, dancer, teaching artist, and fight choreographer.

Finding a Voice with Bocón

Fredy's involvement with Bocón began with the creative workshopping of "Hip Hop It Don't Stop," a project that remains one of his favorites. Our name 'Bocón,' which challenges the notion of silencing voices, particularly resonated with him. "I felt seen," he explains. As a teaching artist, Fredy is committed to empowering children to use their voices creatively, fostering an environment where young voices flourish.

Teaching Philosophy: Embracing Multicultural Creativity

In the classroom during his residencies at Balboa Elementary School, Fredy championed the belief that there is never a "wrong" creative choice. His approach is particularly sensitive to the diverse experiences of multicultural students. By incorporating Spanish and encouraging students to explore their cultural expressions, Fredy helps cultivate a space where art transcends language barriers. "Seeing students get excited and more confident when they express themselves in Spanish makes me proud," he notes, underscoring the inclusive nature of his teaching.

Memorable Moments and Challenges

Among the highlights of Fredy's time with Bocón was staging mini-productions of "Chika Chika Boom Boom" and "A Very Hungry Caterpillar" in kindergarten classes, using puppets and storytelling. Despite the chaos, the playful nature of these classes turned each performance into a joyful exploration of creativity.

Fredy also recounts the challenges of teaching theater in Spanish for the first time. With the support of colleagues like Crystal, he learned to adapt his language skills to an educational setting, enhancing his ability to communicate complex theatrical concepts in Spanish.

Artistic Influences and Community Engagement

Fredy credits a range of influences for his artistic and teaching philosophies, from his theatre professor Tracy Williams, who taught him to lead with confidence, to the supportive community within Bocón and his personal life. His approach to teaching often involves integrating San Diego's rich cultural tapestry into his lessons, such as exploring Mexica deities with fifth graders through mask-making and tableau presentations.

The Creative Process and the Future of Arts Education

When devising new pieces or planning classes, Fredy emphasizes collaboration and clear objectives. For younger students, establishing routines through creative means like songs and music helps manage classroom dynamics. Looking ahead, Fredy sees art education as crucial to fostering creativity and equipping students with vital life skills. He advocates for increased funding to ensure that art remains a central element of education across San Diego.

Encouragement for Aspiring Artists

For those considering a career in arts education, Fredy offers a straightforward piece of advice: "Do it." He believes teaching not only fulfills a personal purpose but also enhances one's skills as an artist. "Lean into the discomfort," he urges, inviting future educators to embrace the challenges and rewards of teaching.

Current Endeavors

Excitingly, Fredy will appear as Antonio in "Twelfth Night of the Living Dead" with Loudfrige Theatre, a testament to his ongoing commitment to his craft.

A Final Note

Expressing gratitude for his role as a teaching artist, Fredy's story is a powerful reminder of the impact that passionate educators can have. His journey from aspiring engineer to influential teaching artist illustrates the profound ways in which art can transform lives, encouraging us all to find and use our voices in the tapestry of life.

Stay tuned for more inspiring stories from our Spotlight Series, where we continue to explore the diverse and dynamic individuals who make Bocón a beacon of creativity and community.

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