Elia Unverzagt
Extreme Music Lover, Active Arts Supporter, Debbie Gibson-in-training

My favorite thing about art is giving people a way to express themselves that they might not in their normal day-to-day activities. Allowing them to access a part of themselves they wouldn’t normally access.

Art has given me a lot of late nights at concerts, inspiration. It has given me a lot of escape. I think that watching a movie or going to a show is kind of an escape from my daily tasks.

Music to me is a passion. When I was growing up, I was in band and my connection to that—well, I couldn’t take any visual art classes, but I instead took language arts and band. And my friends in band were my community. We took huge trips together. My band teacher was the best mentor I had. At the end of high school, I wrote a letter to my teacher—and this is my most artsy moment I think, because I do not describe myself as artsy—I was trying to describe (in this letter) this moment you have when you are playing music where you have practiced enough, you know your piece and you are up there and you are in the moment. You are not thinking of anything else, the music is going around you, everyone is playing and you feel this connection to everyone else. You are in sync. It is it that moment you are connected and I feel that is a huge gift. I am grateful for it. And really, I would have really rather played rock music. I didn’t know I could have done that. I didn’t know I could go and write songs.

I wanted to be Debbie Gibson. I would dress up as her at Halloween and I started taking piano, but I never got to play music I wanted to play. So, it makes me passionate to help these (My Voice Music) kids. To be able to learn it and play the music they want to play, to be able to create something like that.

One day I was volunteering in a class and Chris walks in and says that the students are going to write a song. I was like “What? How are they going to write a song?” I have no idea how to write a song. I can’t even pretend to write a song. But to watch them do that—wow! They took all the kids and put their ideas together. There was one kid talking about summer and basketball and another talking about social war. It was funny, but watching them create it, work toward it—amazing. So cool that they could have this moment of being connected to each other (in this way). How cool in 10 years that they can look back at that cd and remember the feeling of how proud they were to have accomplished that.

I never had the opportunity to go and explore like the kids at Caldera or My Voice Music, to see if you like it or if you don’t. I didn’t have the freedom or the opportunity to do that (as a kid) and have someone guide me through it.

I think it is important for people to be able to explore so they can better access their right brain. Regardless if you grow up to be a creative professional, you need to access your right brain. I’d still like to access my right brain more.