Disability Rights exhibition

Why are you looking at me like that?


Akasha Conomzado

22 years old, (She/Her) 

I grew up in San Francisco, and have learned a lot of wisdom and experiences from the challenges of life. There have been a lot of distractions in my life but I have learned that all that matters is my happiness because, at the end of the day, you’re living for accomplishments and good memories. I’d like to one day have stable housing with my significant other. Hoping to one day pursue my dreams of becoming famous on youtube with my artistry. YSA has provided a community, and family for me and they inspire me to keep moving forward. 



Allegra Uzzell Thelemaque

25 years old. (She/her)

I have lived in San Francisco, Vacaville, Berkeley, Richmond, and Oakland. YSA has taught me to be respectful to the elderly and individuals struggling with homelessness. I have a lot of interest in writing screenplays, stories, plays and pull inspiration from singing, acting, dancing, music, and writing. I see a lot of value in art because it is a way to create a whole new world and it’s a lot of fun. I was in 12th grade when I came to YSA.

YSA provided a job for me when I needed one and it has taught me a lot of job skills. 





Angel Brinston

18 years old. (She, her, him)

I was born in California, and it has shaped me in to the person I am today. I’ve learned that I always must have faith, be myself, and be on guard. I want to be an animator. When I am able to draw and be free, I feel that art helps me process my emotions. I see myself making movies in the future. I came to YSA in 2014 with the help of my mom. I am currently the Street Spirit leader. YSA has helped me because no one judges me, and I am allowed to try new things. YSA has become my family.





Ava Blu Ganaden

15 years old. (She, her)

I grew up in Oakland. My zodiac sign is Pieces. I am a YSA Intern. I joined in the middle of the spring semester. I heard about YSA though social media. YSA has given me a place to express myself, show case my art work, and has given me a good community to talk to.






Brandon Harris

I am currently an apprentice at YSA. My hometown is Oakland, California. The spirit of entrepreneurship inspires me. People say I am such a terrific salesman, I could sell ANYTHING. My preferred artistic style is Abstract on Canvas. I create art out of love and joy, and I care about my audience. Art gets me in my flow. I like to be real with myself. I want my audience to know me, so my art conveys stories about my life. Art making provides me an opportunity to challenge myself and to engage in a process of growth. Creative independence and autonomy remain a consistent goal of mine. I like to feel powerful, and when I create art I feel very, very powerful.





Eloni Bickham

For me, YSA is a productive and supportive community. Everyone is close and YSA really puts value on their employees well being. It’s a great non judgmental accepting environment and has changed me a lot. My biggest challenge in my life is something I am still struggling with, my relationship with my mom. YSA has helped me through it.

Someone who helped me a lot at YSA is Mame Diarra. She has helped me open up and find myself, in and out of YSA. I hope as time goes by I can make a positive impact on someone, as well. I felt really happy at YSA on a Friday during a really inspiring meeting. My favorite art piece is my poster, because it acknowledges beauty and the importance of black women. It’s a really personal piece. I think my future is going to involve a career related to math.





Isabel Gallegos

 27 years old. (She/her) 

I have been going to YSA for five years now. My current position is YSA Leader. My hobbies are playing with my American girl dolls, rainbow loom, writing my book, and listening to new books from different authors. My biggest challenge currently is to be independent in my life and live on my own. For me, YSA is a place to do art and learn about different jobs every Friday.  I use art to process my emotions and feelings. It has helped me express how I am feeling. My family and supervisors at YSA help me a lot, they have truly given me a place of community.  My favorite art piece is a painting inspired by a Dinky the Duck Beanie Baby I have from my childhood. I still collect them. I enjoy My dream is to be a writer and have my books sold worldwide.


Inti Gonzalez

I was raised in Berkeley with my mother and my two younger brothers. I have been working at YSA on and off, for about four years. Most of the time I was an aspirant and now I’m a Sales and Gallery leader. Working at YSA has helped me learn new skills, make new friends and help with my finances. One of my life goals is to become a great musician, having my own concerts and teaching music lessons. My second biggest life goal is to help make my mom’s charity grow and flourish in all corners of the world. Her charity involves using Ibogaine to help people get unaddicted from drugs and to heal them from their emotional issues. If you’d like more information check out If you’d like to see more of my personal art please go to





Jason Powell-Smith

26 years old. (He/him)

I grew up in Berkeley. I have been at YSA for 5 years. YSA is my family and allowed me to have a community. They have helped me a lot and encouraged me to be more responsible in my role here at YSA. I am looking for a new job to plan my next steps and YSA is helping me prepare myself for new possibilities in the area of my developing interests.  My favorite type of art is painting. My favorite art piece is the tiny house that I made. Saving money is the biggest challenge for me now, but I am using this place to produce new projects and learn to support myself. I’m proud of being independent. The time I use to make art also allows me to think, and understand my world around me.


Ren Nelson

17 years old (they/them)

I am currently a Berkeley High School intern at YSA. I was raised in the Bay Area. I grew up with two older siblings and my parents are divorced. I am working towards going to college. At YSA I have learned the importance of people’s voices being heard. Art is my therapy. Some challenges I have overcome are depression and my parent’s divorce. I am a mixed race person, and while at YSA I feel like I have helped people by creating art, which is really cool. 






Peter Moland

23 years old. (He/him) 

I was born in Bakersfield, then I moved to Oakland in the year 2000. Oakland groomed me into a hard worker. Growing up I’ve always wanted to be successful. Being an aspirant at YSA it has helped me come out of my shell. In more ways than one YSA has helped me improve. Ever since I’ve started coming to YSA my mood and spirit have been lifted and now I know how to make the most out of everyday.  








Aceeyah Safi-Eddine

I was raised in the bay area my whole life, therefore I’ve been exposed to many different cultures my whole life which has given me an open mind and educated me. My goals in life are to be a good person in my definition and become a concept artist. YSA has helped me learn and come closer to my goal because I learned about people’s experiences and strengthen my art skills. Ever since I was a little kid, art has always been an outlet for me, and the fact that YSA helps me explore different concepts and media is amazing. YSA challenges me to try out new things and leave my comfort zone which is something that has challenged me for a long time. Thank you for looking at my art and I hope you enjoy what you see!