Benjamin Watkins

Posted by on Nov 30, 2009 in Inspired by Dan

Benjamin Watkins

About Ben:

Ben is a media artist currently living in Washington DC. He grew up in Akron, Ohio. Ben explains his motivation for making this film: “I grew up in the heart of the rust-belt of the United States. Just as I was born in 1975, our once wealthy and powerful industrial region began to suffer an economic and social collapse that continues today. From Detroit to Cleveland to Pittsburgh and every town in between, manufacturing has moved overseas while the factories and the lives of local inhabitants have shut down. Miles of abandoned warehouses and lots, industrial decay, alcohol and drug abuse, racial divide, physical violence – these were the suppressive symptoms of the diseased environment that plagued my creative tendencies and bursting heart.

“Fortunately for me, I was able to receive the guidance and education of inspiring parents and teachers who led me to believe in myself and pursue my dreams. Today, I am a media artist and world traveler with a healthy desire for adventure. From Ghana to Haiti, Europe to Japan, I move along creating bonds, loving life, and cultivating collaborations in the arts and humanities. Motivated to visit Bahia this past year by a love of the region’s music, I found a number of grassroots organizations founded by local artists that were using colorful and lively performing arts traditions to give at-risk youth a more hopeful future. This was such a great thing to behold because while I observed that the relative poverty of the region was much lower than what I had experienced as a youth, it was apparent that their cultural richness (and therefore capacity to inspire) is far greater. Having been so

delightfully impacted by what I observed, I am compelled to inspire others with their story while helping them achieve their goals through video production.”