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Young Renaissance Man is mentor to kids

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Nereo Jr. Eugenio is a gift to Winnipeg.

This multi-talented artist is a practitioner of many art forms, and this fall he will be making a repeat engagement in the Maples-area after-school program at Elwick School.

Also known as The Renaissance Man and Nereo II, Nereo is quickly building a reputation with his painting, drawing, poetry, spoken-word performances, dancing, photography and videography.

He is an arts mentor for youth and has worked with several different organizations, including the Graffiti Gallery, Literacy Partners of Manitoba and Artists in the Schools.

He has also performed internationally at events such as the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, the Toronto International Poetry Slam, Under Pressure Montreal and the Winnipeg International Writers’ Festival.

Born in Winnipeg and raised in Tyndall Park, Nereo always had artistic talents. After graduating in drafting from Tec Voc, he landed a job as a draftsperson.

However,  he says he was "not inspired and I was miserable at that job."

After a year and a half, he moved to Vancouver for six months to do some soul searching. Then he visited the Phillipines.

"It was a life-changing experience. There, I found the history behind my history. I saw the close family ties, the respect for the elders, the strong work ethic and realized the sacrifices my parents made for my brother and I, " Nereo says.

He decided to go back to school and study digital multimedia and graphic design. Then his passion for the arts pulled him in completely.

"My parents have always worried, ever since I left my old job. But within the past two years they started to believe in my ability to make big things happen. Their approval is important to me," Nereo says.

The Renaissance Man is currently working at the Broadway Neighbourhood Centre with the Manitoba Arts Council as a commercial artist/mentor and instructor. This September, he will lead the Arts Smart program at Elwick Middle School.

Derek Dabee is a community correspondent for The Maples. You can contact him at ddabee@mymts.net.

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