MY ART STORY by

Mischa Shimek

Anchorage
Alaska

I am a musician and currently trying to get my degree in music performance at the University of Alaska Anchorage. I never thought that I would want to pursue a career as an artist in my life. I never really was good at other fields like languages and the sciences. I wanted to do something I enjoyed to do as a career, and music was something I put my soul into. As a child, I did jazz workshops and even got to play live at shows and concerts. I got into it and wanted to keep holding on to it as much as I could. Starting my university life, I didn't believe it would pay off at all. I felt ashamed of myself not being able to do something better, something that could get my life going. I was depressed about my situation in life and felt I would never amount to anything.

But when I volunteered to do my first big show (I believe it was Fiddler on the Roof) as a musician in the pit orchestra, I got caught in something I found very energizing and wonderful: to experience getting lost in music with everyone else and for a little moment in our lives forget everything that troubled us. Not only that, I was able to land myself a gig with Perseverance Theater as a musician. This also showed me how important networking with other people can create a great place for artists of all kinds to get together and make art and a living for one another. It showed me that I was not alone in this field of work. People use 'work' very loosely for people in the arts. On the contrary, it is the hardest work one could find in the field: to put yourself out in the open in order to share something important.

I just came home from a small rehearsal. I didn't expect to write something like this at 9:00 PM. But I want to put my voice out there as well because I have a duty to help support the arts in our community.