Priscilla Lopez is the Workshop’s new Program Coordinator, and she’s pretty fearless. She schedules our artistic residencies at school or community sites, manages our internal database, and regularly creates reports from our residency data. But what makes Priscilla even more amazing? She began this role just two weeks prior to our HUGE 50th Anniversary celebration, and she proved she was game for it all. The office has been enriched by Priscilla’s sense of adventure. She even fire dances! (In spite of our best efforts, she WILL NOT fire dance for us at the office.)

In this post, Priscilla discusses how she came to the Workshop, why she’s invested in its mission, and how a certain student in his Adidas track suit taught her the true meaning of swag.

What brought you to the Workshop?

Can I say destiny? (laughing). I think it was a profound desire to find not just a day-to-day job, but to connect my passion with my work. I love the Workshop’s passion and commitment to the students we serve. And as someone who understands the challenges inherent in the San Francisco communities we serve, as well as the power of art, I knew this was the right place for me.

What was most memorable to you about any of the site visits you’ve been on?

I had one memorable visit at Mission Bay [Head Start, one of our Preschool for All sites] to see Melissa Wynn’s creative movement class. There were 12 kids in the classroom, all excited, all wide-eyed. They were so eager to do the next move in the sequence, to get more and more. It made me think of how much energy you have when you’re between the ages of three and five. When you get older, you’re always thinking about how you appear to others, what you look like. But when you’re a kid, you’re not afraid to mess up, and you are so excited to show and tell. What I love about the Workshop is that it’s giving these kids a new way of allowing their energy to express itself.

How has working at the Workshop affected you?

I feel truly honored in serving the kids we’re serving, and I have a newfound respect for them because I’m even more aware of the challenges at their school sites.

I look at my nieces and nephews who can go to gymnastics classes or take part in a number of other extracurricular activities. Because of their socio-economic status, those classes come more easily. But what we’re doing at the Workshop is serving the students who don’t have access to those activities, or whose access does not come as readily or easily. I feel really lucky to be doing that work.

What was most memorable to you about the 50th Anniversary, especially considering how closely you worked with the student performers?

I think I was just mesmerized by how hyper and nervous and shaky the kids were. I made everyone take three deep breaths to calm down. It was funny, though, because as soon as they got on the stage, they were immediately performers. They just snapped into it! It was pretty amazing. And the parents of the kids looked so proud and excited, too. They took so many pictures!

Priscilla had recently told us that one of the 50th Anniversary student performers was wearing a sharp Adidas track suit. Priscilla said, “Hey, that’s a cool outfit,” to which the student replied, “Thanks, I know,” with a smirk.

What about the student in the track suit? Do you think he got his confidence and sass from the Workshop or was he just born with it?

(Laughing) You know, I think the confidence and sass were just him; he’s pretty indicative of the amazing students we serve. I think the Workshop was just the arena for him to show off that confidence.