Taylor Brock '12

After graduating from GPS in 2012, Taylor Brock took her talents to New York University, where she studied at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. While there, she created her own concentration, “Creative Democracy,” which included courses such as environmental science, political science, critical theory, art history, metropolitan studies, sociology, and more. During her senior year, she was connected with the artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, who were in the midst of launching For Freedoms, the first-ever artist-run Super PAC. The mission of For Freedoms was to use art and creativity as tools to encourage civic discourse and political engagement, which aligned well with her studies. She began interning for the organization, which eventually turned into a full-time job. Though the job (and the project) was only meant to last through the 2016 presidential election, Taylor remains a passionate part of the organization today! She lives in Los Angeles now, where she serves as a curator and creative producer at For Freedoms. Additionally, she recently graduated from the University Of Southern California with a master's in curatorial studies and another in urban planning. Much of her work and focus has been on infusing art and creativity into our everyday lives and using that as a tool for engagement, belonging, and connection. 

Q. How did you get into what you’re doing now? Did you always see that as your path?
A. There is definitely no clear path for how I got into this work. Justice and equality have always been at the forefront of all that I do, which started from having David Cook as a teacher in seventh grade at GPS. Throughout my time at GPS, I was actively engaged in so many activities ranging from social justice, theater, sports, student council, and radio—I never felt like I had to choose one specific field or path and really saw how all of these spaces were deeply intertwined with one another. I then went off to college to create my major, and now I wear many hats working in an incredibly interdisciplinary space. In addition to my time at For Freedoms, I have worked in music, film, and fashion—again seeing all of these as with rather than against one another. I think the combination of having incredible parents who were always deeply supportive of all of my varying passions as well as the space to explore these disparate paths at GPS helped to make me into who I am today. 

Q. Why are you passionate about what you do?
A. I love my job so much. It is consistently challenging and deeply stimulating. There is never a dull day, as we work on such a range of projects. All of the work we do is aiming to normalize tools such as listening and healing to create an equitable, just, sustainable world filled with laughter, joy, and love. What more could you ask for? 

Q. What was your favorite tradition at GPS? Why?
A. My favorite tradition was always the Chapel Talks. I loved each of the seniors getting the space to share their parting words. I still cherish that so deeply!

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you got during your time at GPS? 
A. There are so many ways that David Cook, Katy Berotti, and Todd Wells rocked my world and changed my life. Across the board, all of them encouraged me to be constantly questioning, unlearning, and reimagining—and those are things that are still core to me today. Additionally, in physics class one day we were talking about the Earth’s gravitational field. To visualize this, Mr. Haynes said that by merely picking a flower, you could move a star. The immensity of the impact that such a seemingly small or intimate exchange can have was the main idea behind my own senior Chapel Talk, but also something I still turn back to regularly, almost 15 years later. 

Q. If you could offer one piece of advice to current GPS students, what would it be?
A. Soak it up, baby! 

Q. Do you stay in touch with your classmates? What impact have they had on your life?
A. Absolutely, some of my classmates are still some of my dearest friends.

Q. Can you point to anything that GPS did to prepare you for your future?
A. Definitely the hard skills of time management, writing, and public speaking—but also, some less tangible ones such as harnessing creativity, empathy, and joy in all that you do! 

Q. What is a GPS girl to you?
A. Adventurer, Explorer, Questioner, Expansive, Loving, Undefinable 

Q. What is your proudest accomplishment thus far?
A. There are some career and life moments that I am extremely proud of that I never could have imagined happening. But by far the thing I am most proud of is the way that I show up for those around me. My mom died in 2019, and that pain and grief gutted me to my core. The love of my friends, family, and community buoyed me—it kept me afloat—and I am so proud of the way that, as that acute suffering has softened, I have been able to create and hold space to show up for people around me. We need each other, we got each other! The rest doesn’t matter if we don’t have that!

Q. Are there any experiences or memories from your time at GPS that really stick out?
A. I loved and still cherish so much of it—it was consistently so fun, stimulating, eye-opening, and challenging, and I'd say that’s a pretty fabulous and rare review to have of your high school experience!