Courtesy of The Bison

SEARCY, Ark. – Harding University is filled with inventive minds and students searching for ways to express themselves through their passions and creativity. However, fear can sometimes control people who have amazing ideas, creative spirits and artistic visions. Recently, a few students noticed that in their own lives.

Seniors Ana Quintero and Macey Vaught were talking recently about how fear has held them back from pursuing their creative dreams for a long time. Quintero said she decided she was tired of fearing failure. Vaught and Quintero decided to launch a project called “Fearless Creators,” which they said provides them with the opportunity to interview women who are pursuing their creative dreams at Harding.

Quintero wanted to pursue her love of writing, so she created a blog called “What If” to serve as the medium for their project.

“I wanted [What If] to be a place that celebrates creativity and the fearless pursuit of the good that God has for us,” Quintero said. “There are so many people fearlessly pursuing the things they love, and Macey and I wanted to take the time to highlight their stories, not only to encourage others, but also to encourage those fearless creators to keep doing what they’re doing and hopefully bring their story to a wider audience. Fearless Creators became a way that we could put into practice what we were learning and put ourselves out there in a creative way.”

Quintero said she is continuously amazed that God first introduces himself as the creator. She said she wants others to know they are made on purpose and with a purpose, created in the image of God. Vaught said she was inspired to be part of this project because Quintero simply asked her to be. Because of her love of photography, Vaught photographs the women who are part of the Fearless Creators project to provide a visual medium on the blog. She said the purpose of this blog is to encourage everyone who participates and reads.

“Although a lot of these individuals that we are interviewing already have some sort of social media presence and following, we want to not only help that grow, but to also dive deeper into their background,” Vaught said. “We want to show people the why behind what they are doing, the challenges they’ve faced, the satisfaction that has been a result, and the advice they have for others because those things bring even more life to their creations and encouragement to others.”

Vaught and Quintero are currently featuring women within the Harding community who they view as creative. They plan to expand their features to the Searcy, Conway and Little Rock communities soon. Senior Toni Sharp has been featured in the Fearless Creators project because of her small business, Toni’s Clay Earrings.

“Exploring creativity in college has been many things, but for me, it has mostly been a stress reliever,” Sharp said. “I have always loved creating things, whether it’s sewing, painting or working with clay. I took art classes all throughout school growing up and kind of put it on hold once I got to college. My last couple of years of college, though, I decided to get back into it and found it to be a great way to clear my mind for a bit of time and relieve stress.”

Sharp said a lot of creativity comes with trial and error, but she encouraged others searching for an outlet to keep trying and be positive.

“Creativity has brought so much joy to my life,” Sharp said. “I thank God for the innate desire to create that he has put in us all — be it art or something else. I love sharing things I create with others, be it food or earrings, and am always blown away by people’s kindness. So another thing I would say to others wanting to create but afraid to put themselves out there: Don’t worry about it, [because] chances are, there will be way more people desiring to lift you up and support you in your endeavors.”