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Alumni Q & A…with Anna Chance '11

Anna Chance '11 has launched her own business, Silk Painting: Designs by Anna Chance. Her art studio, The Upper East Side Gallery, is located in Faribault, Minn.  

Lisa Blevins

Anna Chance '11 has launched her own business, Silk Painting: Designs by Anna Chance. Anna has been painting silk regularly for almost two years, but made the decision to fully focus on her art in earnest in the fall of 2016 transitioning to full-time in October of 2017. She hosts parties for birthdays, bachelorette parties, leadership workshops, and holds Open House nights and other events at her art studio, The Upper East Side Gallery in Faribault, Minn.

Favorite thing about your job?
Although I do enjoy getting asked to make a custom works of art that are framed and displayed, my favorite part of what I do is facilitating events at pubs, parks, festivals, and music shows. I love to get several people painting on one piece all together and discovering what happens when colors mix. I tell everyone who paints with me, “You can paint with one paintbrush at a time or two, as long as you are dancing!” It’s about the fun of making the painting itself and watching the colors flow. 

Favorite holiday tradition?
I enjoy Thanksgiving with my family. They always cook the best foods! It’s the same every year, but it gets better each time. And, eating the same dressing and beans brings back memories from past good years too.

New Year’s resolutions: yes or no?
Definitely! And I have stuck to them. It takes about 30 days to change a habit and form a new one. After 30 days of doing most anything, it becomes almost automatic. I’m trying to take advantage of that to train my brain into better habits over time. New Year’s resolutions don’t just have to be made at New Year’s! I think they are like making a promise to myself to try my best. 

Favorite PHS memory?
I love the art classes I took at PHS and being a part of Dance Team. In fact, I first learned how to paint on silk at PHS with Catherine Vesce during JanTerm. Otherwise, I was the president of the Photography Club and built a classroom-sized pinhole camera in the art building. I also edited The Garret.Silversmithing and pysanky egg painting were among other arts I was exposed to while at PHS. 

What are you most grateful for?
I had a great education. From Montessori as a child, to public middle school, and finally to Pembroke and then Carleton College, I feel lucky to have had the teachers I did as mentors. My dance teachers, my biology and chemistry professors, my sitar teacher… there are so many people in my life I am grateful for and who together have made me who I am today. 

Since graduation, no one would guess that I...
Have become a silk painter, for one. I also have gotten to study biology in New Zealand and Australia and I have learned to play the esraj, an Indian instrument that sounds like a sitar, but is played with a bow like a cello. 

9) What is your proudest accomplishment?
While on Dance Team at PHS, I was a little behind the other girls because I had no dance experience when joining the program my sophomore year. I felt like one of the only girls who couldn’t do the splits or didn’t know how to pirouette or basic leaps. I had a lot of learning to do! But I worked on the splits every day and came to practice with a good attitude. I didn’t end up dancing with the Varsity girls even in my senior year for State, but I did get an award for “most improved.” I suppose for me it is more meaningful that I push myself and try not to compare myself to other people. I felt accomplished in trying my best even though it may not have been ‘good enough’ to participate in dancing at the most elite level. “Most improved” means good enough, for me.

What does Freedom with Responsibility mean to you?
In running my silk painting business, I have to have a lot of discipline. Yes, painting is fun, but running any kind of business takes a lot of work and upkeep. Every day counts and you have to balance working enough without running yourself ragged (note: the to-do list never gets ‘done’ because there’s always more I could be doing and more that comes up!) Freedom with Responsibility at Pembroke gave me the room I needed to express myself while also keeping tabs on my projects and responsibilities. Now in the ‘real world,’ I depend on my sense of personal accountability more than ever. Even though I am free to do as I please, there is work to do. Freedom with Responsibility might just be another way of saying, “get used to learning, because if you’re doing it right you’ll never stop growing and discovering.” So while at Pembroke, I am grateful I learned how to learn. Thank you to all the faculty and staff who push the students to be their best and most responsible selves. I know I have made it to this point in life in part because of the support and guidance I had at PHS.

What's your story? Contact the Alumni Office to participate in our new Alumni Q&A series!