LeeAnne and Diane

August 2017 TeamMates of the Month: Creating a Future with Art

Diane and LeeAnne Call

“She did an amazing TED Talk!” LeeAnne Call proudly shares about her mentee, Diane.

“She introduced that to me,” Diane adds appreciatively.

LeeAnne’s daughter curated the first TEDx Youth event in Lincoln, so LeeAnne told Diane about the event and encouraged her to apply. Diane made it through several rounds of auditions, and as a 6th grader, became the youngest presenter at the TEDx Youth event in Lincoln.

“I’ve never been a shy person, so it wasn’t scary for me. I met so many cool people and I’m still in contact with everyone I met there,” Diane says.

In her TED talk, Diane shares how she used art as a way to heal after the tragic loss of her father when she was only five years old.

Diane, a talented artist, not only draws for herself; she enjoys giving back and sharing her gift with others. “It’s really nice to put what I like to do, and what I’m good at to use and make someone else’s day. I guess that’s what motivates me.”

“Our very first meeting, she had a project,” recalls LeeAnne. “Do you remember?” LeeAnne asks Diane. “We made bookmarks and I still have my bookmark.”

Diane and LeeAnne continue to work on creative art projects together. Some of their favorite projects include birthday gifts for friends, individual Valentines they handed out to kids at the People’s City Mission, magnets for residents at a retirement home and art pieces for patients with cancer.

“We keep the office staff entertained,” LeeAnne admits. Whether it’s wood burning coasters or a DIY costume, the staff at Southwest High School, where Diane is currently a junior, love to see what Diane and LeeAnne are working on each week.

Diane’s art isn’t just a hobby, she plans on turning her passion into a career. “I want to direct Pixar movies.”

With LeeAnne’s help, Diane was able to connect via email with Darrell Rooney, a director and animator who worked on films including, Lion King II and Mulan II. Darrell connected Diane to more animators, producers and directors who critique her artwork, encourage and mentor her.

“I’ve been able to meet so many amazing people through LeeAnne,” Diane says. “The art field is not easy to succeed in, so their support is awesome.”

Diane and LeeAnne agree that TeamMates allows them to stretch their imagination and try new things. “It’s important to step out of your comfort zone. If I hadn’t, then a lot of the things we’ve done together probably would’ve never happened,” Diane says.

“I try to encourage her to follow her dreams and not let anybody stand in her way,” shares LeeAnne.

After graduation, Diane plans on attending Cal Arts in Santa Clara, CA. In the meantime, Diane and LeeAnne will continue to share their creativity and love for art every week as TeamMates.