Jacob Mann

Hi, my name is Jacob Mann. I cover the Art Beat for the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman. Stories start in many different ways. This one started in February and ended in February, a year filled with ups and downs, and plenty of thoughts about creativity and the role it plays in our daily lives.

I noticed a couple of coincidences lined up these last few days, so I figured I’d go with that for this week’s column.

Earlier this week, I interviewed Thrive Mat-Su who recently announced the winners of their photo contest winners. The age range was 12 to 20.

Toward the end of week, I talked to Nancy Angelini who is currently running an art auction called 20 Portraits to raise money for MyHouse. She said that she started interviewing MyHouse clients and painting their portraits last February in preparation for the fundraiser.

February 2020 was also when I launched Art Beat. This got me thinking about all the interviews I gathered in and around the creative community. Below is a list of 20 quotes from the last year that were either in a Creative Q&A piece or utilized in an Art Beat installment that I think are broadly applicable and may resonate with some of you.

“I personally think staying connected is what will keep us going in these strange times. It is easy to feel afraid. Sometimes when people are anxious, all the color drains out of their life. But we don’t have to live in a weird world of black and white. We are going to bring back the art and the color.” — Barbara Hunt

“Try to create as much as you can,” — Sara McKinley

“Always get better. The most important thing is the product you’re putting out, almost like individual, personal criticism… It’s a constantly improving and constantly growing process. As you as your music stagnates, your music dies… If you’re good, people are gonna find out about it.” — Jerry Wessling

“Everybody can find creativity in something.” I think that statement is true on so many levels. It’s my goal to stress that point to encourage everyone to listen to whatever’s inside and let it come out. That can mean anything. It can be something as simple as taking up a hobby you’ve always thought about to a major turning point like venturing from a safe job with benefits to pursuing that dream job making money with your own hands on your own time.” — Joy Fournelle

“I still don’t think of myself as a painter, but I think of myself as a creative person... I think we all have different interests and I think I found my own little thing… I found that it was very cathartic.” — Deborah Lestenkof

“Take classes, where you have other people there who can support you. That’s important. I think that’s one of the things that made it hard for me. I didn’t really have anybody around me who knew how to help me.” — Nancy Jenkins

“Everything is a resource.” — Mollie Boyer

“Expect nothing and appreciate everything.” — Lori Teich

“Having a positive outlook, it lets you live your life… If you think you can, you will; and if you think you can’t, you won’t... You have to believe in yourself in almost every aspect involved.” — Ira Edwards

“I think any artist just wants to be seen… Look how many great ideas and inspirations that went dead in the water that we’ll never know about because we didn’t give them the attention… I think we’re sharing emotions more than art.” — Jamie Bailey

“You know, it’s really, really cool. I just love how local Alaska is, how everyone sort of bands together to support each other… Alaska is far and above most other places. The only other music scene I’ve seen that even compares to Alaska, as far as local support, is Texas... All musicians are very supportive of one another… It’s just kind of that mentality, that we’re all up here together.” — Roland Roberts

“The power of music right now is how I communicate with my brother who passed away. The moment I took his ashes home… The moment I hit play on Pandora, on came the song that was his theme song, “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd, followed immediately by “Wish you Were Here.” I still get chills… My brother was into my music and my career, and music period, in general. He couldn’t sing ..., but he appreciated it, and it touched him and it guided his life in so many ways. I really truly believe that’s how I know I feel him, when the songs come on.” — LuLu Small

“My ideas come from everywhere… I would say look at nature… Talk to other people… It’s not stealing… Do you what pleases yourself. If people like it, that’s awesome. But, if you do it for yourself and it makes you feel good, who cares what other people think. That’s what I do.” — Colleen Wake

“Well, I think it really forces you to be a problem solver. You have this image in your mind of what you want, and then you have to figure out how you’re gonna’ execute it.” — Sandra Cook

“It’s remarkable how much talent that’s in the Valley per capita in my opinion...The Valley is music over drama, like no one’s caring who’s getting the most money... We’re just all in this together... We’re all very supportive of each other. It’s like a family out there. I think open mics do help with our community being closer… Anytime there’s someone new, everyone gets super excited.” — Justin McCain

“I think we have a great pool of Valley artists. We’re kind of scared. We all kind of stick to our own little studio; but all you gotta do is look around a little bit. There’s potters. There’s painters. There’s all kinds of artists in the Valley and very, very good ones.” — Patrick Garley

“Nowadays, there’s so many ways to sell art. The definition of art is so wide when you look at it… People need it and they pay for it. You just gotta figure out what you can do that will get you in front of somebody who’s willing to buy your art.” — Patrick Garley

“You need to do art to please yourself, not to please everyone else.” — Barb Stigen

“Don’t second guess yourself. Don’t get discouraged. The fact you want to make art is reason enough to do it… If you’re creative, you’re creative… You’re not gonna get better if you dont think youre good enough.” — Alida van Almelo

“I think everybody has some creativity in them, whether it’s something like visual arts or writing or singing. We should find that because that’s what makes us grow and feel alive… Jump right in there. There’s so many kinds of classes… See how it makes you feel. Don’t worry about what it looks like.” — Nancy Angelini

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