A.I. the Anomaly Gave Back to Small Business & Creatives During Pandemic
Last year, we hosted A.I. the Anomaly on Community During Chaos, and she spoke about her experiences during the pandemic. During the conversation, A.I. told us what she did with her own creative business to support her community.
A.I. began Get Fokus’d Productions over eight years ago. The main idea behind the business is to “capture, teach, and give back.” Breaking that down, she captures people’s attention with how powerful stories with photography and creative writing can be. Next, she teaches kids, entrepreneurs, and whoever enrolls in her sessions how these creative outlets work. With the first two steps, she is giving back by investing in the next generation of creatives. A.I. started full-time at her business three years ago.
In 2020, she saw a teaching opportunity. During check-ups with her various groups, A.I. taught her pupils that art can be a form of protest.
“In all of the virtual classes I was in, they expressed that they’re angry, frustrated, they don’t know what to do with themselves or their time,” A.I. the Anomaly said. “So I tried to tell them ‘let’s use these words since we’re doing creative writing. Let’s use words as your protest.'”
With one group of kids she was teaching, she gave them prompts to write poetry and take photos in response to the pandemic and 2020 events. She then took everything created and made it into a book. Inside the book, she made room for spaces with the prompts she gave other students for other youth to write their own poetry and photography.
She kept searching for ways to help though. Several small businesses in her hometown had issues financially during the pandemic. With the help of weekly focus group sessions, they gave away $500.
“You can look at our circumstance right now and see how important art is because when you didn’t have to go to work anymore because of the pandemic when your kids are at home when everything has paused, what did people do? They danced, they sang, they drew, they painted. Art is important. It’s interesting how it gets pulled out of schools, but that’s another conversation.”