My name is Adam Candelaria.
I am the Creative Operations Director at InDiGO: Inward Discovery Grows Outdoors. I am also a healer, mentor, leader, innovator, artist, and graphic designer. Here is a bit about me.
Art has always been a passion of mine. The pottery class I took in fourth-grade and the foundational art class I took in sixth-grade was enough to keep me full of artistic inspiration until I reached college. I originally declared my major in Homeland Security at Virginia Commonwealth University, but I soon felt an irresistible call toward creative expression. At the end of my sophomore year, I had a realization looking at my notebook while studying for a law class exam. Instead of typical notes with jotted keywords and bullet points of facts to memorize, I had drawings and imagery depicting the discussions we had during our lectures.
I realized my learning style. My natural mode in the world is visual. Not only was visual interpretation more effective for me, it made me feel good. Though I believe in the power of language, and in understanding law and policies, I authentically and naturally express myself through drawing, painting, writing songs, and taking photographs. I realized that the Homeland Security track was not for me and decided to focus my efforts on art.
I switched my major to graphic design and continued my studies at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. For the first time in years, I felt liberated to express myself creatively as I refined my natural gifts and talents. In addition to my own digital and multimedia work, I have designed graphics for non-profits, universities, schools, professionals, and businesses across Baltimore in a variety of sectors.
I have practiced yoga, mindfulness, and breath-based self-regulation through the Omega Institute and the Holistic Life Foundation. I studied trauma-informed care at Penn State. As a part of our work together at InDiGO, I am passionate about training Systema with my friend and martial arts instructor Gabriel Pickus. I have been training with him, and his teacher, David Fouts, since 2015. Our approach to martial arts is healing and de-escalation-based. We build people up instead of breaking them down.
We develop softness, sensitivity, and help men uproot toxic masculine patterns and behaviors. Systema has a healing and massage component that helps people increase relaxation and mobility by releasing tension and trauma. Systema helps me feel free in my body and mind and I am excited to share the practice with others as a part of our work. The healthy relationship I have built with myself is the foundation for the healthy relationships I am building with others and with nature.
I believe that like me, all of us can discover how we learn best, and utilize our passions and talents to pursue our path, purpose, and potential. I am dedicated to using art as a vehicle to interweave Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), breath-based practices, and mindful, holistic approaches to guide youth to develop self-management skills, practice well-being, authentic self-expression, and healthy relationships with their peers, community, and planet.
About the Author
A uniquely talented illustrator and graphic designer, Adam has an eye for capturing the beauty of the world on camera, computer, and by hand. As a burgeoning healer, leader, and holistic educator, Adam has been dedicated to working with Baltimore youth since 2015. He has been a site coordinator and teaching-artist both during and out-of-school-time at Robert W. Coleman Elementary, Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center, The Harambee Center (formerly known as The Penn-North Kids Safe Zone), The 29th Street Community Center, The McKim Center, and the Holistic Roots Mentorship Program (a program of the Holistic Life Foundation). As a freelance artist and graphic designer, Adam has worked with Johns Hopkins University, Roland Park Elementary School, Parent-Teacher Organizations (PTO’s), The Friends School of Baltimore, The 29th Street Community Center, The Bulldog Basketball School, The Pantry Catering, private-practice pediatricians, early childhood development therapists, and various other professionals and businesses.