Dominica Millsaps describes herself as “artsy-fartsy,” although she admits to not being able to draw very well. She does, however, see art everywhere.
“Art is a big part of, not only our culture, but a part of everyday living,” she said.
She thinks art is underappreciated, but enjoys it because one can look at a piece of art and see many different things.
“It’s all about how you perceive it,” she said.
If you perceived “The Design View” symposium as just for those in the art world, you would have missed out on a great opportunity. The Feb. 15 event took place at the Williamsburg Winery in conjunction with Black History Month an featured various design professionals. The keynote speaker was Gabriel Ramos, project manager and editor for the African American Design Nexus.
“Everything was based off professionals under the umbrella of design,” said Alicia Riley, Thomas Nelson’s special events coordinator, who organized the event. “We had all types of designers: recording artists, people who decorated the room and displayed art work, a violinist, someone who was in marketing.”
Millsaps, who is putting the finishing touches on a degree in Human Services before transferring to Old Dominion, said it was extremely beneficial to her.
“In the world of design, in any profession, there will be human services involved,” she said. “You have to know how to treat people. You have to know how to talk to people. You have to know how to interact with people.”
Millsaps, who assisted at the event as part of Thomas Nelson’s Presidential Ambassador Program, made sure to interact with as many people as possible. She asked for business cards. She spoke with people. She listened.
“I was everywhere,” she said. “I’m not a person who’s just going to stay off to the side. I’m very interactive.”
What she really liked was how inspirational it was for her.
“It made me want to push full throttle and maximize my potential,” she said. “If it did that for me, it would definitely do that for other students.”
She said anyone could be inspired because it wasn’t all about design. She saw professionals working together to help each of them reach their goals.
“If we all work together as they did … there’s no telling what we can and can’t do,” she said.
Millsaps found inspiration in not just the work of the artists but their accomplishments, what they had to go through to reach their goals, their ups and their downs, their humbling moments.
“It was their stories that wrapped me up and made me feel like, ‘Wow, I can make it, too,’” she said.
When she does make it, and she has no doubt she will, Millsaps’ goal is to be the one offering inspiration.
“I want to do so much, but everything I want to do involves helping others,” she said.
She sees at-risk teenagers as a target audience, reaching “those students who don’t feel like they have a chance.”
Millsaps, 26, moved from Columbus, Ga., to Virginia when she was 19. School pushed her and let her know she could be somebody, travel the world and inspire thousands.
“I want to be that inspiration to others,” she said. “If I don’t reach the stars, somebody I sent will.”