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Catching up with past Arts & Life story subjects

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Diana Ramos (left) with her international friends during a New Years celebration on Dec. 31, 2020. (Courtesy Diana Ramos) 

Articles go beyond the page. While a story may have an ending, the subjects that are represented within them are still carving their marks on the world. 

The Daily Wildcat has taken the opportunity to catch up with a few past Arts & Life subjects to see what they have been up to since we last heard from them and what is in store for their next chapters. 

Past Story: Students by day, entrepreneurs by night: How three wildcats run their own businesses


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 Various jewelry pieces from Olivia Hocker’s online shop, StonedOliveCreations, on Etsy. (Courtesy Olivia Hocker)


Back in October of 2020, Olivia Hocker, a freshman political science major and film and television minor, was just beginning their online business journey on Depop. Now Hocker’s store, Stoned0liveCreations, almost looks unrecognizable since moving their store base to Etsy, shifting their primary products from their trademark mini brand jewelry to more crystals and semi-precious stones and making huge efforts towards improving their advertising and quality.  

“I definitely feel like I've improved on my work a lot,” Hocker said. “I feel like, more recently, I’m more fulfilled with what I’m doing. I feel like I’m growing a lot faster, learning faster, and I’m really proud of my work.” 

While Hocker said they still want to keep the shop relatively small, as they are focusing on getting a degree, they still have plenty of plans and desires when it comes to their shop's future. 

“A small goal of mine would be to have a stand or a table at an art fair, I think that would be really cool. It’s a possibility some day to have my own physical store, but I think it would be a nice start to have a little pop-up event,” Hocker said. 

As for the near future, coming summer 2021, be on the lookout for Hocker’s summer jewelry release, a project they are particularly excited to share. 

Past Story: Vaishalini: An R&B star in the making


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Vaishalini’s cover art for her newest single, “So You Need Me Now?” (Courtesy Vaishalini) 


Last we heard of Vaishalini, she had just released her single “Watch Your Step.” Since then, Vaishalini has released two new songs, “Livin' Rent Free" and "So You Need Me Now?," both of which will appear on her future EP. 

“[‘So You Need me Now’ is] more of an R&B type song. And it's just really empowering to me because it's sort of like moving on but knowing you had an opportunity to grow from something. That’s like the same thing with ‘Livin’ Rent Free,’ except it's different because it’s looking at everybody in a way in that you’re no longer focusing on what people think of you and kind of doing what you want to do,” Vaishalini said.  

Both songs are very on par with Vaishalini’s general theme in her music. 

“That’s the big message I’m trying to get across in my music is that everybody should feel confident to just go for what they want and know their worth,” Vaishalini said. 

Besides her upcoming EP, some additional items to look out for in the coming months from Vaishalini are visual pieces, more singles and possibly even some live performances. You can keep up to date with her on vaishalini.com

Past story: Locals discover new sounds on Dusk Discovery Stage



According to Page Repp, one of the founders of Dusk Music Festival and festival director, things are looking optimistic for 2021. 

“We’ve been making sure that the show we put on in 2021 is the best one we’ve ever had, so we’re really excited for what will happen this next time around,” Repp said. 

Dusk will see a shift in venue this time around. While still being downtown, rather than being located in Armory Park, Dusk will sit in Jácome Plaza. 

“At this location, we’ll still have three stages, but the two main stages will have the main downtown library in between them, so there won’t be a bleed-over sound from one to the other. So we’ll have more flexibility. … And there’s some really cool spots at the new venue with natural amphitheater type space, a really cool way to do vendors and expo spaces. It’s just going to be really neat when you see it,” Repp explained. 

Despite 2020 being such a difficult year, Repp is taking what cancellations and setbacks he’s experienced in stride. 

“I’m an optimist, and I think most of us in general are. And we see brighter days ahead, and I think we just take the lessons we’ve learned in the past and just try to make everything better for our new group of attendees. And hopefully, everybody just comes away after the show just saying, ‘Oh my gosh that’s the best thing I’ve ever seen in Tucson,’” Repp said. 

Dusk's 2021 festival is will run from Nov. 13-14 at Jácome Plaza. For more information, visit their website at duskmusicfestival.com.

Past story: OPINION: Stuck in the U.S. for the holidays: A reality for many international students


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Diana Ramos (left) with her international friends during a New Years celebration on Dec. 31, 2020. (Courtesy Diana Ramos) 


As 2020 proved to be difficult for everyone, international students like Arts & Life reporter Diana Ramos experienced a year that was unique from most University of Arizona students: being barred from entering their home countries. She highlighted this in her opinion piece on being stuck in the U.S. for the holidays, away from her family. 

“The situation is I don’t have a passport, my mom doesn’t have a passport, dad doesn’t have a passport, sister doesn’t have a passport, and the process to get a new one is really hard. And the only way to get one is really the black market. … Additionally, in Venezuela, the U.S. embassy is not open, so for them to get a visa, they would have to travel to another country in order to get back. And all that with [COVID-19], it's just too much,” Ramos explained. 

Ramos has been dealing with the stresses of not only being a student but an athlete on the University of Arizona track and field team, and a journalist as well. So this, coupled with everything that was going on with her family, was overwhelming. Luckily, she finds solace with fellow international students. 

“My closest friends from here are from Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Spain, and we all talk to and support each other. And it's just amazing how these people grew up from such a different environment than mine, and we’re still such great friends,” Ramos said. 

Past story: Incarcerated artists adapt to changes amidst cancellations


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Artists in the prison system must adapt to their biggest chance for exposure in galleries now that events across the country have been cancelled.


Last time the Daily Wildcat spoke with Joe Watson, a formerly incarcerated person and facilitator of the workshop, “Free Time: Building a Community of Mentors for Incarcerated Writers,” the workshop had been cancelled indefinitely due to the pandemic. Luckily, as the reality of 2020 began to settle in, Watson still found a way to make things work. 

“Not only have we found a way to continue it, it's actually been good for the workshop in a lot of ways because we can recruit more mentors from basically anywhere,” Watson said. 

The workshop is still held on the last Saturday of every month, just virtually now. According to Watson, they have been able to get participants nationally and internationally, including Pennsylvania, Vermont, California, New Mexico and even as far as Denmark. 

“With that being said, there’s a social aspect of the workshop that folks are really missing. They still want to get to know people with shared values in their community, and it's just not the same when you try to get to know folks over Zoom,” Watson said. 

The workshop is always looking for more participants. And in fact, Watson is hoping for more diverse members, specifically people of color, LGBTQ+ and persons directly impacted by incarceration. 

“All that’s required is just being a voice on the outside. Being somebody who maybe mentors them and helps them become a better writer, gets them published, advice or feedback on their writing or it could just be that they're a friend on the outside. They just remind the incarcerated person that they matter. That goes a long way to help somebody manage prison,” Watson said. 

For more information on the workshop, visit the UA Poetry Center website at poetry.arizona.edu/calendar/online-free-time-building-community-incarcerated-writers-8


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (5/7)
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Includes tests since August 4, 2020
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated May 7, 2021