Total loan: $7,500


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West Fork, AR, United States / Arts

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A loan helped an artistic woman entrepreneur teach her community about the art of photography.

Diana's story

I was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas by a loving family who fostered my art creativity from my childhood. My passion for a love of animals led me to Fayetteville to the University of Arkansas to earn a degree in Biology. All the while I always took photographs of animals and nature, but I didn’t’ really think about it as a career path but more of a personal artistic expression for many years. It took me a while before I realized that I really loved photography for my life work and that I had some special abilities and should pursue photography more fully as a career also. I wanted to learn darkroom photography early on, but it was too difficult to learn on my own because it is a very hands-on process and I didn’t have the equipment, so after finishing my Biology degree, I went back to college for a second degree in Fine Art with an emphasis in photography. Black and white photography is what fuels my creativity and my great passion. The true stories of people and places come through more without the busyness and flash of colors. Today when I need a break from my current other jobs I work and manage, I get in my car and drive very far away into nature- down dirt roads, to the river bottoms, to forests, to places no one will ever see but me. There I look for settings and moments to photograph that are special for that time, and place with just me. My photos convey my feelings in that moment and with them I feel I can move on from any problems and deal with life again now that I have found that beauty and positivity, or that I have now released that sorrow or frustration through the photos I took. This is what art is all about- expression. I am finally living my artist life as fully as possible today. My mix of emotions and inner visions come through in my art. I want other artists to experience this same joy and learn the true mechanics of photography as an art. Since earning my degrees, I have been teaching photography and Photoshop for over ten years in the Northwest Arkansas area and bringing this joy and art to my community as more fully described in my Business Story in here. I have also been involved in recent years developing an online business with my life partner and have learned very much from that experience and the path we have been on seeking business mentoring from many NWA entrepreneur training groups, workshops, and associations. I also provide personal care services to my life partner unable to care for his physical needs alone, and I rent a portion of my home on Airbnb and so have that business and organization experience as well. I am a hard working entrepreneur. I am now more than ever ready with my recent business experiences to expand my photography business as a teacher reaching more people, and hopefully able to open a small studio of my own in downtown Fayetteville.