From Words to Web, Meet Anika Fajardo

One of the coolest things about Anika Fajardo is her attitude toward learning. Not only is she a mentor at Augsburg University’s MFA in Creative Writing and an Artist Career Consultant at Springboard, she often seeks out new information and mentorship for herself. She has even booked a consultation with a Springboard ACC in a different field! When she’s not teaching, she writes, reads, and builds websites. She has published two books: a memoir called Magical Realism for Non-Believers and the middle-grade novel What If a Fish.

Hi, Anika! Please share a little about your creative practice.
I’m a writer, which is super exciting, because when I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. And then my family was like, “You should do something where you get a job.” So I was a teacher, and then I was a librarian, which was getting closer to what I really wanted to do. I really liked the organizational side of it. And then I got into learning how to code and do websites. It was right around 2000, so websites were very new; it was this different kind of skill that I never thought I would have.

Now, I have been primarily writing for the last couple of years. I have a memoir that came out two years ago and a middle-grade novel that came out in 2020. And then I do web design for artists on the side. I take those library skills and organizational skills, and I put them into helping artists figure out how to organize their information on one of the really easy, user-friendly tools like Squarespace or WordPress. It’s a nice break for me from writing; it’s really fun to have that instant gratification where, like, we change the color, and it looks cool.

How did you start working with Springboard for the Arts?
I have been working with them for about a year. I did a website workshop for MRAC [in Oct. 2019], and Zaraawar [Mistry] from Springboard happened to come to the workshop in person. I was actually using Springboard’s website as an example of a website that had transformed. I used an old screenshot of their previous website, and then the current website, not knowing that the web designer was there in the class. [laughs]

[Consulting] has been busier than I expected. I think when everything shut down, artists realized, “I have to be in the digital space.” A lot of people that had been putting off doing websites or had a really old website that they weren’t happy with — they had the time, for one thing. And they also had that urgency. Most of what I do is just the one-hour tune-up on their website, [when] they already have a website, and I just talk to them about how they could rearrange it, or how it could be updated a little bit.

What are projects that you have going right now or an idea in the making? What’s a project you’d like to see happen?
I’m one of the gig economy [workers doing] many, many things. I just turned in revisions on my book Meet Me Halfway. So I’m kind of still kind of reeling from that. I should be taking a break, but I’m thinking about what the next book is gonna be. I have a couple website builds to do for people, too.

What’s something you wish others knew about you?
Well, when I meet people in person, people always think I am younger than I am, which, on the one hand, that’s great. But on the other hand, I have a lot of experience and a lot of life lived. As you get older, you would like to have a little bit of respect for your experience and your age. And so I wish people knew that about me.

Springboard Resources
Artist Career Consultants, available for virtual consultations:
Workshops & Events Calendar:
Work of Art and Handbook for Artists Working in Community books:

Editor’s note: As the national platform for Springboard for the Arts, Creative Exchange has long been a platform to highlight the artists, resources, and efforts in our national network. In this pandemic, as Springboard for the Arts’ work is increasingly online and accessible nationally, we’ll be turning the spotlight on Springboard staff and our Artist Career Consultants, to share more about who we are and the work we do. Enjoy!