Sparking Creativity: Celia Herrera '96

A writer, performer, singer, and creator, Celia Herrera, 1996 HRS alumna, remembers Hamlin Robinson School as an essential piece of her early learning, setting the foundation for her future successes.

Whether it was the feeling of triumph from performing, the accomplishment of seeing her art displayed, or the recognition of her academic abilities and growth, Celia’s creativity and spirit guided her, leading her to a multi-faceted career and a life filled with adventure.

Early in her time at HRS, the originality of her class assignments kept Celia engaged and focused. Her teachers and parents were a constant source of support. Mrs. Clark, a former HRS art teacher, was a wonderful influence on Celia, sparking her creativity and helping her explore her interests.

Of all the assignments, one of the largest scale projects is still hanging in the halls of HRS today: the hand mural. Celia’s parents, Carlos and Pepi, were instrumental in coming up with the project idea, supporting the artwork, seeing it through from beginning to end, while serving as powerful advocates for Celia. Her parents and members of their local company, Herrera Environmental Consultants, even came to help with the installation.

Along with her passion for visual art, Celia was also drawn to music, and she fondly remembers her first solo performance - a piece from Puff the Magic Dragon. Singing on stage was an incredible experience, and while it was her first public performance, it was certainly not her last.

Celia’s talents and pursuits revolve around creativity and people.

Her music, styled as American folk and soul, offered a unique career journey and provided one of her biggest personal accomplishments – releasing her first album in 2020. From writing the music, to singing and playing guitar, to crafting clothing and accessories for her album artwork, each piece was lovingly chosen and arranged by her.

It’s not just her music serving as motivation to continue exploring her art. She is also the lead server at Jazz Alley and is surrounded by talented performing musicians as she works.

Her inspiration comes from a variety of sources: music, nature, fashion, cooking, and food. It also comes from the process of creativity itself. When starting a new project, the possibilities are endless, and even an original vision can be altered, resulting in something unique and different.

Being a very social person, living through a pandemic has certainly had its challenges.

There were disruptions to the service industry, periods of isolation, and general interference in routine. However, it did provide time for Celia to evaluate her life, her career, and position herself for future opportunities. Her time working as a server is teaching her about working with people. It inspired her to expand her resume and begin working as a real estate agent, utilizing her people skills and outgoing personality to help prospective homeowners.

Eventually, Celia looks forward to returning to a time when she can explore not just her local surroundings, but the world. Having visited Paris, Italy, Australia, New Caledonia, and Mexico, she’s been all over the globe, but Spain, Morocco, and Portugal remain on her travel bucket list. If she has her way, they will be checked off that list sooner rather than later.

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