2004 Meritus alumni Ivan Lopez‘s story reflects the ability of Meritus Scholars to take their creativity and imagination to new heights. After graduating college in 2008, Ivan opened and continues to run Artillery Apparel Gallery, a venue for artists and designers to showcase their new work in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District.
His family immigrated to the United States from Columbia when he was three years old. At the age of six, he recalls that his first experience with art was one evening when his mother drew a portrait of both he and his sister in their sketchbook. Realizing his passion for art, and as his parents were self-employed and working towards gaining political asylum, he took it upon himself to seek out these opportunities.
Ivan envisioned art to take him to new places and applied and was accepted to Pratt Institute, a top art, design and technical university in the northeast. Aware of the increasing costs and other challenges associated with attending college, Ivan cites Meritus as giving him the tools to continue his artistic passion and become a leader in the local community:
“Meritus gave me the confidence and financial support that allowed me success in college. With Meritus’ support, I was empowered to make good financial decisions and expand my education beyond the classroom. Being able to explore my education and different parts of the world, including my home country, has allowed me to open up my imagination to the possibilities of following my dreams of opening a local business. These experiences continue to impact me today.”
Meritus is proud to have alum like Ivan who has incorporated artistic passions into a successful business and resource for the community. Artillery Apparel Gallery is growing strong and features over 65 local artists and designers. We’re excited to see what Ivan will continue to achieve in the years to come.
Be sure to check out Ivan’s work.