David Heredia is Animator-in-Residence for Innovation Week
Our return from Winter Break kicked off with Innovation Week, a week filled with celebrating all things inventive and imaginative. Our students spent time exploring everything from a rapid prototyping challenge to underscoring the stories of some trailblazing women in STEAM. One of the most impactful highlights of the week came through the launch of our Animator-In-Residence workshops, guided by award-winning animator and creator of the “Heroes of Color” series, David Heredia.
A hero of color in his own right, Mr. Heredia kicked off his residency with an opening address to both Lower and Upper School students during our Wednesday assemblies. He shared how the combined power of education, courage, and pride in his identity motivated him to pursue his passion as an animator and educator. Immediately following the assemblies, Mr. Heredia led our Lower School students through digital design and animation workshops, including walking them through the process of creating a superhero and developing comic books.
Following his residency, Mr. Heredia was interviewed by Ericka Dean, Director of Marketing and Communications. He was thrilled to share more about his journey to becoming an animator and creating the “Heroes of Color” series.
Here are some excerpted questions and answers from that interview:
When did you know you had a passion for art?
Growing up, English was my second language, but I had an art teacher who took an interest in me, and even though we didn’t understand each other, we connected through art, and it was then that I realized it was a real passion of mine. Honestly, teachers were my first heroes.
What motivated you to create the “Heroes of Color” series?
I am originally from New York, but all of my experiences out here [in Los Angeles] helped give birth to “Heroes of Color,” specifically an experience I had with my daughter. In Kindergarten, somebody said a racial slur to her, another Kindergartener. It happened again in the third grade, so a lot of the work that I do has been because of the experiences that I’ve had living here in California.
When I do my work, all of my children are around me, and they are looking at the work I am doing and asking me about the characters I am creating, and I always remind them that their teacher is there for them. So, if you’re only learning about European history, or European heroes, or European people, you have the right to raise your hand and tell them, “Hey, how about we learn more about somebody who looks like me.” Well, my daughter was given an assignment called “Highlighting an American Hero,” and they had to do a speech on an American hero, so they were given a list of people to choose from, and everybody on the list was white. My daughter raised her hand and said, “I don’t see any people of color from this list, so I’m going to pick a hero of my own who looks like me.” I thought that was amazing, but what was more amazing was half of the classroom reacted to what she said and said, “Hey, I want to do that too!”
What was one of the most significant takeaways from the time you spent at Mirman?
I get excited when I see schools like yours trying to get the message out there and giving students the tools and confidence to tell their own story.
To learn more about David Heredia and the “Heroes of Color” series, click here.