Sydney Duarte has art in her name, creativity in her mind, and positivity in her soul. And, she wants to pass that positivity on to the people of Charlotte.
With each of her projects, Sydney aims to inspire and uplift others, especially now that our world has been turned upside down over the past few months. She’s been busier than ever in 2020, creating art and spreading her message but her creative journey isn’t a new one.
For most of her life, Sydney’s been creating. Whether it was jewelry, pottery, woodworking, canvas painting or painting murals. She has flexed her creative muscles for nearly 18 years. Where did she inherit her creative mindset? The same place we all get our best traits (if you ask them)… from her momma.
The Dynamic Duo
“She always encouraged creativity and gave me a wide array of fun mediums to play and explore with. Most of my knowledge comes from being around her and teaching myself new skills by experimenting and surrounding myself with a creative community,” said Sydney on her mother, Ann Duarte, encouraging her artistic side.
Over the past year, the artistic connection between Sydney and her mother has gone even deeper. The mother-daughter duo started Duarte Designs, their own small business aimed at bringing “love, laughter and hope back into the community” through their art. The team works on a wide variety of mediums but you may be most familiar with their vibrant murals that are sprinkled across the Queen City.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride so far. Many lessons learned, lots of laughter, some crying, and endless creative brainstorming to turn dreams into reality! We both give all of our hearts into everything that we do and it’s been fun to challenge ourselves and lift each other up through each project that we’ve taken on so far.”
Sydney and Ann were a creative whirlwind of good vibes last year, and a quick drive around Charlotte will prove that statement true.
Their mural at Two-Scoops Creamery encourages people to “Do the thing that lights you up.” The four-story piece they created at Spirit Square boldly challenges viewers to change their perspective for the better. Their installations at the temporarily closed immersive art experience, Portal Charlotte, fostered a sense of wonder and playfulness that could make anyone’s day a little brighter.
“Duarte Designs was created to spread positive messages through our original pieces. Our art is meant to spark thought and help you stop, stand there, and breathe in ALL the things that make you feel grateful for this life,” says Sydney on the impact she hopes her art creates.
Staying Busy for Mother Earth
That creative whirlwind isn’t stopping anytime soon. Sydney is keeping her artistic momentum going and diving headfirst into a plethora of projects. Between installing a new cosmic painting at Devil’s Logic Brewing in Elizabeth, writing and illustrating a children’s book and co-creating a tarot card deck with Mariah Oller of Harvest and Moon, she continues to ride her wave of creativity.
And, of course, she’s working on Duarte Designs’ latest and greatest work of art.
The mural she is currently creating is on the side of the soon-to-be Innovation Barn in Charlotte’s Belmont neighborhood. This is a collaborative project between Envision Charlotte, the City of Charlotte, and UNC Charlotte focused on sustainability and creating a brighter future.
Sydney has taken the Innovation Barn’s message to heart for this project. “The mural is about honoring Mother Earth. With everything that has been going on in the world, we wanted to paint a message of hope and positivity.”
When the project is complete, it will feature an image of Colleen Sperati of Plant Spirit Medicine holding the earth and “blowing a wish over the globe.” The healing power of plants is a major theme of the mural to coincide with the Innovation Barn’s quest for a sustainable future.
“All flowers and plants represent some form of healing and new beginnings. They help support us in specific ways such as Mugwort, for example. If taken before bed can result in lucid dreaming, improved dream recall and enhanced dream creativity. She helps lift the veil between this realm and the dream realm,” says Sydney on plants being a prominent part of the mural.
The mural is currently in progress at 932 Seigle Ave if you want to check it out for a little boost of positivity in your life.
Adventure, Wellness, & Oneness
Those artistic ventures sound like a full plate, right? Well, they are only one side of Sydney’s creative coin. When she’s not creating for Duarte Designs, Sydney is known by a different moniker… the Traveling Gypsy.
Under her Traveling Gypsy brand, Sydney promotes “adventure, wellness, and oneness” through guided retreats, yoga instruction, motivational speaking, artwork and an unyielding positive attitude.
“I guide others to step out of their comfort zones to embrace new experiences and live a life they love and settle for nothing less than extraordinary.”
A major part of the Traveling Gypsy lifestyle is yoga. For the past 6 years, Sydney has created specialty yoga classes, ranging from Vinyasa and Restorative to Acro Yoga to yoga for kids.
“My passion for yoga is all about healing others and giving them loving encouragement and power to connect with their minds and bodies. Getting them out of their comfort zone to try something new, whether that be in a studio or in the comfort of their own living room or on one of my international adventure and yoga retreats.”
And, as Sydney sees it, her work with art and yoga go hand in hand. “The aspects of art and yoga intertwine by bringing the community together and sparking inspiration and healing within everyone that comes in contact with it all.”
It’s only a dream until you make it happen.
A recent addition to Sydney’s Traveling Gypsy resume is her new Dwell in Possibility podcast which features the dreamers of Charlotte “following their hearts to turn dreams into reality.” The podcast is focused on what can be achieved if people embrace their goals through a positive mentality.
“What if you followed your internal compass, allowed your heart to steer the ship and let love be the guide to your life? What happens when we are present with ourselves, our longing, and the pull that asks for more of ourselves to show up?” asks Sydney.
Dwell in Possibility is on its fourth episode with a new release every Saturday at 1pm. The current episodes include interviews with Lauren McAbee of Essential Thrive, Aaron Dodge of the Self Awareness Podcast, Aaron Atkinson of Using Your Brain Group and Colleen Sperati of Plant Spirit Medicine. You can listen to them here.
So, what happens if we dwell in our possibility (and our positivity)?
As Syndey Duarte shows us on a daily basis, with the right mindset, no dream is too big and no goal is unachievable.
This Queen City creative profile is the second in a nine-part series titled “Something to SHOUT About,” where we interview various Charlotteans about their creative journeys and the work they are doing today. This series is sponsored by Charlotte Center City Partners and Charlotte SHOUT.
To keep in line with the four pillars of Charlotte SHOUT, the profiles focus on the categories of art, music, food and ideas. Sydney Duarte is the embodiment of the power art and creativity has to transform, heal, and connect our community.
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