When I was a young girl, I wanted to be a singer in a rock n roll band. In 1978, I attended a Patti Smith concert — changed my life. Patti made her own rules, that gave me permission to do the same. Started my own band, the Teresa Gunn Group. Had never written a song, did not read music or play an instrument. Began performing in punk clubs in Washington DC and Baltimore. By the end of the decade, I had recorded three original albums, toured extensively, got some recognition through press, radio, and television. Won some awards, got some respect as a singer-songwriter and performance artist. I also picked up a pretty good drug and alcohol habit. Quit performing, moved back to my hometown of San Diego, and began a very long journey of recovery.
Began to examine my need to be an artist. Grew up in a strict military family. Came fromgenerational poverty. Moved a lot. The schools I attended did not have art classes. I found no joy in education. I began to realize that at the core of my work as an artist was the need to fit in, to feel close to people and have them feel close to me. I wrote a raw, autobiographical one-woman series called Trailer Park Queen. The project flowed easily form childhood memories which are personal, often shameful. A painful childhood became my greatest creative asset.
The training is informal. The style—thematic storytelling, spoken word, songs, stream of consciousness, and crude humor. The music has been described as “garbage can desert music”. The Project has evolved into seven episodic shows, a music CD and is performed in clubs, theaters and on college campuses. My work continues to be shown and purchased across the US and internationally.
1998, I founded Musicians for Education and its signature program, Street of Dreams, a nonprofit arts education and college bridge program that provides educational, creative and emotional support for teen mothers. The project uses the creative process as a healing mechanism.
Trailer Park Queen evolved from childhood wounds. I believe creative blocks contribute to the disease of addiction. I have taken my life story, my core being as an artist and molded it into a bigger purpose—art that can be used to achieve social change—the prevention of generational poverty, alcoholism, drug addiction and mass incarceration.
Trailer Park Queen is a performance coupled with an optional college workshop geared to high school and college students, artists, educators, criminal and social justice professionals. The performance/workshop demonstrates the power of a 12 step model when used within a performance art curriculum. Trailer Park Queen, Musicians for Education, and Street of Dreams work collaboratively with the Alcohol and Other Drug Studies (A.O.D.S.) department of San Diego City College and Lindsay Community High School for Teen Mommies.
My life experience
Has made me well suited
To be of good service
To people like myself
I founded Musicians for Education, Street of Dreams
Because, I believe that music & arts’ education has the power
To open channels to human dreams
Human dreams guide us toward our natural vocations
Natural vocations create happy people
Happy people contribute to global solutions
Global solutions create a peaceful planet
~ Teresa Gunn ~