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News . Feature Stories . President’s Traveling Scholarship: Andres Almy ’20


March 13, 2024

President’s Traveling Scholarship: Andres Almy ’20

In Aguas Claras, Colombia, Andres Almy ’20 joins the first group of children to receive skateboards. Submitted photo.

By Karen Sandstrom ’12

Andres Almy believes in the power of images and the power of the skateboard.

In his application for the President’s Traveling Scholarship, the Photography major described the skateboard as a mode of transportation, play, discovery, social interaction, problem-solving and learning perseverance.

The skateboard is fun, Almy wrote, and “it can change someone’s life.”

With that in mind, Almy invested his scholarship funds in a trip to Bogotá, Colombia, where he was born and had lived as a child before difficult family circumstances caused him to be moved to an orphanage. He was eventually adopted by an American couple in Ohio, but he held to a goal of returning to Colombia, reconnecting with family there, and giving back to a community challenged by poverty and drug crime.

Almy’s project, “Push Forward,” aimed to use sports equipment and art to offer children ways to divert their attention from the challenges within their communities. He traveled by motorcycle and off-road vehicles and made connections within communities.

“By frequenting places where they gather, engaging in skateboarding and fostering a positive atmosphere, I drew individuals into the initiative,” he says.

He got equipment into the kids’ hands and documented the project through photographs and a film. One of his most memorable and unexpected experiences started with an invitation to join locals in a dinner in the desert of Neiva.

“The setting was unique, with an open block that once housed buildings now replaced by a charming shack featuring a kitchen and a bread oven,” he says. “As we sat down to a wooden table, Blondy, our host, served us an incredible home-cooked Colombian meal. Little did we know that Blondy was one of the most respected figures in the city’s history as a drug queen. Despite her background, Blondy’s hospitality, generosity and contributions to the community stood out. The evening concluded with heartfelt hugs, leaving us with a sense of family and a shared commitment to looking out for one another.”

Almy is now a freelance photographer and videographer whose specialties include automotive and lifestyle work and drone videography.

“The Traveling Scholarship has been immensely valuable to my art practice,” Almy says. “It offered a transformative experience that enriched my creative perspective and allowed me to explore new dimensions in my work. It provided not only financial support, but also the opportunity to immerse myself in diverse cultures, inspiring my artistic journey.”

Learn how other CIA alumni used their President’s Traveling Scholarships:

Josh Maxwell ’13
Amber N. Ford ’16
Chi (Irena) Wong ’20
Alison Alsup ’23

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