LaG Alum Garth Belcon Visits Juniors
On a recent Friday in January, Garth Belcon, a LaGuardia drama alum, dropped in on a junior-wide Zoom to talk about his journey as a kid from the Bronx to a fully fledged producer. He’s a part of Molière in the Park, which released a virtual version of Tartuffe over the summer. Juniors watched the production as a prelude to Belcon’s visit, and although a general expectation was a discussion of the play, his visit felt more like a motivational TED talk.
Belcon was quick to establish a rapport with students through his New York City background. “Trust me, I know the Bronx,” he said, eliciting some muted laughs from the students watching. Belcon’s warm and humorous personality is unlikely to be stopped by a computer screen, and his allusions to growing up in an area often under or misrepresented in the media quickly earned him the respect and attention of the ninety or so students watching.
“I am grateful that I grew up in the place and time that I did -- I’m living proof that you can come from anywhere and make it,” he said. In the ending Q&A session, many students were quick to comment on how important representation has been in their own journeys -- and how inspiring it is to see a Bronx-native of color successful in the industry. A few students even said that they hoped to take on a similar role in their futures; inspiring young people who come from the same place they do.
Belcon also struck a chord with everyone in his experiences following LaGuardia. “I always knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry,” he said. Although he attended LaGuardia to learn how to be an actor, it was a tough reckoning when his path led to producing, instead. He attended the California Arts Institution in 1992, majoring in production management and technical direction.
“The awesome thing about being young is that there are so many avenues for your interests to manifest,” was his part-conclusion, part-lesson. His message resembles the age-old adage: the world is your oyster. For LaGuardia students especially, his words are moving and important. The people we are in freshman year are not the same people that will graduate -- and being in a space where we practice the same art for hours a week can make us feel like we only have one option going into college or the workplace. Belcon’s story is evidence that interest determines career choice as much as education.
Belcon didn’t stop at offering life advice -- he handed out music recommendations, funny stories, and artistic enlightenment. He talked about world events, and how to find the good in a world pandemic. Garth Belcon’s visit was invigorating, eye-opening, and moving—he reached back across his own timeline to speak to the same LaGuardia student he once was, and offered a hand and a boost to the next stage. Pun intended.
You can check out Molière in the Park at: https://www.moliereinthepark.org/