What you do shouldn’t define who you are. Who you are should define what you do.
Unfortunately, many Filipino artists aren’t given the opportunity to have a job suited to their talents. They don’t have the luxury of going to a school that meets their needs; many can’t afford school at all. And in the Philippines, a person without a college degree doesn’t have too many options. Even employees at the local fast food restaurants have college degrees, or are working towards one. What’s a person supposed to do when they can’t get hired?
Many join the sex industry. They might not agree with the job, it might feel wrong to them, but they have no choice. They do it not just so they can survive, but so their families may survive as well.
If they live in a rural area, they might work in the rice fields, some of the most backbreaking labor imaginable, for only about $2 USD per day—and that’s only during the rice harvesting season. The rest of the year, they’re left to find other jobs, which may or may not exist for them.
Things can look pretty bleak if you’re a Filipino artist living in poverty.
Our aim is to give artists the chance to become what they’re meant to be.
We hope to provide the finest in graphic design and art education possible, for young adults who can’t afford art education. Working with other passionate professionals in our field, we hope to help Filipino artists living in poverty learn the tools of the trade, experience client work, build beautiful portfolios, and get good careers in the design industry.
At Ferdinand Center for the Creative, students will come to classes three days a week, gaining practical, hands-on experience drawing what they see, drawing from their imagination, sketching, painting in different styles and mediums, work on logos from conception to final execution, and learn the tools and software used by graphic designers. They’ll get to work on actual ad campaigns and brand projects for other nonprofits around the world, as well, adding valuable work to their portfolios.
We’ll offer all the education, tools, and resources so that even the poorest can enrich their lives and earn a better living with good jobs in branding, advertising, or graphic design.
We’re doing more than just helping the future designers of the world.
We’re looking to use our facilities in any way we can, to help as many people as possible. One of our projects, Kalye Ferdinand (Ferdinand Street in Filipino), aims to help street children learn to read and speak English, play around with arts and crafts, and learn basic computer skills all while getting a healthy meal. Solving the literacy problem goes a huge way towards solving the rest of the world’s problems, and it gives street children a head start against educated children, who already have a head start in every other way.
Won’t you please help us on our quest?
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Lester Nelson, President
Les has worked in the design industry for 11 years, running his own firm, Further Studios in Alaska. He’s taught seminars on branding, corporate identity, and design for the Small Business Administration, and his love of absorbing and sharing knowledge of branding, advertising, typography and design is surpassed only by his love of people. He’s passionate about helping those in need, and in finding new ways to use his talents and limited resources to spread good in the world, to help educate those who need it most.
Judith Shields, Vice President
Judy has taught for 34 years all over the world. From teaching English in Greece, Science on an Indian Reservation in Montana, primary education in Australia, to teaching in Oregon and Alaska (including 17 years in special education) Judy knows a lot about getting kids to learn. She’s one of those teachers that students remember throughout their adult lives; a rare breed of educator with the prowess to get students to not only learn, but to care about learning, and to never settle for mediocrity. She’s passionate about using education to solve the world’s problems, and has a flair for merging teaching with adventure. She ran with the bulls in Pamplona, swam with the sharks in Australia, and taught French to third graders in Alaska.
Lassie Nelson, Secretary & Treasurer
Lassie has worked as a secretary and administrative specialist in education since 1974. She’s responsible for the assembling of borough and legislative information pertaining to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, which serves 44 schools in 21 communities, and covers 25,600 square miles. She’s also in charge of training all school secretaries in the district. She’s excited about Ferdinand because she’s a firm believer in education, and knows that—especially in the world’s poorest countries—education is key to solving the biggest crises that plague our planet.
Since 1982, Debbie has worked in education and since 1989, she has been a Career Guidance Assistant and Job Coach. She has the ability to see the “big picture”, has a vested interest in the success of students in Alaska, and soon, our students in the Philippines. She’s looking forward to opening doors for our students to get better opportunities and attain a higher quality of life.
Dan Matutina is a talented designer from the Philippines, with considerable experience in the nonprofit sector and education. He’s Creative Head and Partner for Ideals Creative, Inc., a social design agency that specializes in work for nonprofits. He’s also a lecturer for the University of the Philippines, College of Fine Arts, and Founding Editor for Plus63, a showcase on Filipino creativity. His work has been published in Computer Arts, Rogue Magazine, Semi Permanent, and other publications, and his clients have ranged from Wired Magazine, BBDO Guerrero, Coca-Cola Foundation, and more.
You can view his personal portfolio at twistedfork.me.
Joe Rizzo has successfully run the nonprofit Alaska Children’s Institute for the Performing Arts and its hugely popular Triumvirate Theatre since 1998. They teach young people important skills like responsibility and self-confidence by getting them involved in dramatic productions, and also raise money for families in need on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How can I help?
We’re glad you asked! We’ll have many opportunities to help out, and if you sign up for our mailing list (which can be found in the sidebar to the right) you’ll always be the first to know. Also, check out the Support Us section of our site if you’d like to make financial contributions, or the Events section for details on any upcoming events we have planned. We will also have many volunteer opportunities any time we have the need for volunteers.
How do I apply to become a student?
If you sign up for our mailing list, once we get a building ready for student use we’ll send a link to apply to become a student.
How do I apply to become a volunteer?
Just like our prospective students, we’ll send announcements for volunteer opportunities to those signed up for our mailing list. If you want to be added to a volunteer database ahead of time, please email us with your name, phone number, and mailing address to email@example.com
Where are you located?
We will be located in Camarin, Caloocan City, Metro Manila. Living quarters may be available for students or volunteers who live too far away to commute.
Are donations tax deductible?
Yes, we are a licensed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States, and contributions are deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. As with all tax-deductible nonprofits, regulations may apply to your donation and you may not be able to deduct a donation from your taxes. Talk to your tax specialist for more information.
Will you teach web design?
Our plans for the first year are to teach graphic design, with an emphasis on print and identity. We do not have any plans to teach web design our first year—however, we will teach our students about designing layouts and graphics for the web, how to optimize images, creating layouts that will work well for the screen, and how to work effectively with developers.
How can my organization become a corporate sponsor?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Will you offer a degree?
We will not offer a degree, however we do have several plans worked up which we will detail soon to help ensure that our students are able to get good jobs if they work hard.
I applied to become a student, but didn’t make the list this year. Do I still have options?
You bet! We’re sorry you didn’t make the list this year as a student; we have limited resources and, in order to keep from being stretched too thin, have to limit the number of students we’re able to accept. But we have great news for you! If you sign up as a volunteer, we’ll offer free focused classes and workshops for you. You don’t need to come to the Center every day as a volunteer, either. Let us know which days are good for you to come help, and we’ll mark you on our calendar for those days.
Can I be a teacher?
Our first year, we’re not accepting any new positions for full-time teachers. We will, however, accept applications for guest lecturers, substitute teachers, and teaching assistants. Email email@example.com for more information.
Will you be offering any classes or workshops for non-students?
Yes we will! As mentioned earlier, we’ll be offering free classes to all our volunteers, and we may have single-serving classes and workshops for any interested parties in the future as well. These may cost money for any non-volunteers.
I have an idea for a workshop. Are you interested?
Totally! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Workshop Idea,” and tell us what you’d be (a) interested in learning, or (b) interested in teaching. Thanks!
I have a question that’s not answered.
By all means, ask it! You can email email@example.com and we’ll do our best to get all questions answered as quickly as possible.
About this Website
This site was designed by Lester Nelson and developed by Josh Pope. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Josh for all the hours he worked tirelessly on our design to get it to your screen. Thanks, Josh!