UNM graduate Amanda (Mandi) Kane always knew that music and art would play a critical role in her life. She also knew, that if she was not performing, or creating her own art, she wanted to be involved in help to inspire others to follow their inspiration, and promote the importance of the Albuquerque’s artistic community to future generations.

“I’ve always loved the arts. Music was a huge introduction to a variety of art forms for me. It enriches my life, and I love supporting other people’s creative pursuits. In addition to entertainment and something to do, it adds a lot of value when you see the amazing things that human beings are capable of, it’s really inspiring.

“Culture is so important on a community level because when you look at societies over time, the things that have been passed down and studied in anthropological sense are things like music and dance and the way they told stories. I think that you can learn a lot about a society by how important arts and culture really are to that group of people.”

When it comes to her love of music and the arts, Kane does not limit her interests to one area. In addition to journalism, she’s a novelist, a dancer, and a musician, having started training in the viola after spending years away from performing. She was able to bring many of these interests together when she took over leadership of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony in late 2015. It was here that Kane discovered she could combine her storytelling ability with her love of music to benefit the lives of a new generation of creative minds.

“We know that a lot of our students will grow up and become professional musicians, but more importantly we know all of them are going to grow up to be adults and we hope that, whether or not they pursue music at the college level, they have a life-long appreciation for the arts.”

Like many artists, Kane credits New Mexico’s natural beauty, and the allure of the desert southwest, for inspiring people to tap into new, undiscovered wells of creativity.

“New Mexico is beautiful. It’s unlike any other place. I like to say that you never see the same two “New Mexicos,” because every day New Mexico looks different.”