Nancy Gutierrez (The DreamYard Project)
My name is Nancy Gutierrez. I was born in La Jolla, California, grew up in Sacramento, and summered in San Francisco visiting family. An aunt who lived in San Fran was only four years my senior and more like a sister to me, so we would alternate summers at each other’s homes.
I eventually found my way to New York for two main reasons: co-founding the NYI (New York Initiative) and to pursue acting. As an actor whose main interested is theater, NYC is ideal. For several years, I put acting aside due to a belief that a path in the arts was perhaps selfish or frivolous. This belief was not overtly expressed by my family, merely implied through their own career choices. Most of them have some talent in the arts, yet their professional interests leaned toward business or the health and medical fields. It was surprising to discover how supportive they were about my own choices–they encouraged me to pursue whatever makes me happy, however, I was not necessarily given the guidance to do so. I developed a need to give myself structure and challenge myself to follow intellectual pursuits. Sometimes it seems that everything I’m interested in is peripheral to music. I am very passionate about music. When I play, everything feels aligned and right with the world; I can express myself fluidly. To some degree, acting affords me that outlet, but music is much more dynamic. The only thing comparable to music for fluid expression would be dance. Currently I play piano, cello, dabble in drums and sing. I was also trained in violin for six years. I have lived in New York four years, the last two spent following the dream.
Whatever the level of impact, whether it is heading a civic movement, raising a loving family, or developing one’s skills in the pursuit of self-improvement, in my opinion, it is everyone’s duty to leave the world a better place than we found it. It is my hope that I have made a positive change and encouraged others to take action through the work I’ve done with the NYI. I believe completing a professional course of study will aid me in being an effective change-maker. My interests include green chemistry, design, and changing policy around education. I will eventually study sustainable architecture. Especially in under-served communities it would be beneficial to build green rooftops and drive initiatives that educate and empower people as far as diet and access to fresh produce. Although local food gardens have become prevalent in these neighborhoods, they are mainly used by those who are already inclined to garden. This points to a need for more outreach and change in the ethos in terms of the way residents think of food. It is so unfortunate that in these communities, politics are going on that drive away chain supermarkets that provide fresh produce at a reasonable price while fast-food restaurants are given subsidies.
I’m taking the work on The Tempest as it comes. Every moment has been great in rehearsal. I couldn’t ask to work with a more open, kind, and generous group of people.