In 2012, I was fortunate enough to become a winner of the prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship. I can’t express enough the doors this opened for me musically and how it changed how I looked at traditional Middle Eastern music. In many ways, it became a game changer for me. It created the ability to build relationships with other fellow Kresge winners and we have now become part of a fellowship class that will always be a close-knit group.
This class of artists are outstanding in their own right and come from vast backgrounds. The passion they portray for their art is amazing and I for one, had not seen this level of both love of their art and committment at this point in my life as a musician. Indirectly, they motivated me as well. Listening to their stories and hearing about what they wish to accomplish was simply amazing to me.
Through the talents of Artserve and Cezanne Charles, our fellowship was not just about the cash award we received, but the mentorship and training we received throughout the year. I met and created many new lifelong friends through this program and it really was “chicken soup for the soul” for me whenever we would get together as a group once a month and share our ideas and progress within our projects.
Receiving this award meant a lot more to me than I would have imagined. I am not bragging, but I applied for the first time and was confident that I wouldn’t win, but figured I would apply just the same. I don’t think I was prepared to win, especially when I knew how many artists applied for the fellowship. This award gave me my own validation that I am moving into the right direction and opened my eyes in a way that showed me several projects and goals that I wish to accomplish as a musician.
Perhaps this video, produced by Stephen McGee Films highlights my thoughts as an Armenian musician. This excellent video was produced as part of my fellowship.