The Carter Blog

Carter ARTicles

Blue Star Family member turned Carter Community Artist: Sarah Ayala

Aug 13, 2021


Erica Svehlak, Communications and Marketing Specialist

Part of  these categories:: Events, Carter in the Community

For Sarah Ayala, the chance to work directly on a Blue Star Museum event was a no-brainer. “It’s super meaningful to me. I think there needs to be more outreach for military and veteran families and I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Sarah Ayala was one of our 2020 Carter Community Artists. When we reached out to her about doing an art-making class for military families, she jumped at the opportunity. Sarah grew up in a Blue Star family—her dad was a marine in the 70s. She knows, first-hand, what it is like to grow up in a military family and was happy to talk with us about how it has influenced her as an artist.

A split image of a young man in a military uniform on the left, and artist Sarah Ayala and her dad on the right.

(L-R) Sarah's dad in uniform when he served in the U.S. Marine Corp; Sarah and her dad.

Sarah told us three major ways that growing up in a Blue Star family influenced her as an artist today. The first can be seen through her work ethic and a general desire to do more. Growing up with a veteran as a father, Ayala was constantly encouraged to work harder, learn more, and get further, and she still sees that in herself today. Second, she touched on being punctual—whether it's with deadlines or events, she said she sometimes gets anxious trying to make sure she’s on time. Finally, pride. “Most people aren’t taught to be proud of themselves because it can be seen as the wrong thing,”, Sarah said. But her father also taught her that pride must be balanced by being humble. She likened being proud of her work to her dad being proud to have served. Not only did Sarah inherit her father’s pride, she also inherited his artistic nature. “Leather working is very calming and therapeutic for him, especially during the pandemic,” she said.

Artwork by Sarah Ayala on the left, and artwork by Sarah's father on the right.

(L-R) Sarah Ayala's artwork; Sarah's father's leathermaking.

During her time as a Carter Community Artist, Ayala found that some of her favorite projects to work on married her love of art with a desire to teach children. One of the things that she is super proud of and loved working on were murals. She specifically mentioned working on murals with kids in the Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) and at the CAN Academy. “Murals can seem so unattainable,” Sarah said, so she especially loved watching the kids get to design the mural and then watch it come to life.

Artist Sarah Ayala and community members stand around an outside mural.

2020 Carter Community Artist Sarah Ayala (second from left) in front of the finished JJAEP mural.

The Carter is proud to be a Blue Star Museum and have the opportunity to work with Carter Community Artist and former Blue Star family member Sarah Ayala for an exclusive, virtual workshop for all active military families, available through September 5, 2021.