Keren Or Featured: Amelia Wise

Amelia Wise, a 12h grader, is one of this year’s Keren Or (Ray of Light) creative arts contest winners. She won 1st place in 10-12 grade poetry for “An Ode to Abandonment” and Honorable Mention for “On Poetry and Lying.” Here’s a Q&A with her about her work!


What are your creative goals for the year?

This year I have had the pleasure to direct a community youth chorus in the Duluth area. Additionally, I have been conducting and teaching repertoire as a student conductor at my high school. I write poetry and short stories and have been exploring the intersections between storytelling and choral music. I strive to utilize choral music and poetry as a medium for community healing and bringing people together.

Why did you create the art you did, and what message do you hope people take away from it?

I wrote an ode to abandonment as reaction to childhood trauma. To be alive is a duality. I hope that people take away an understanding that all of our lives are made up of both hope and despair. Sometimes what crushes us, ultimately sets us free. Most things in life carry both darkness and light and in some strange way this gives me a lot of hope.

What does creating art mean to you and why is it important to you?

Creating art is a manifestation of hope. Art brings greater meaning into people’s lives and I think the pandemic really showed a lot of us how important art, and hope, really is. Art has a great power to inspire people and connect us across divides. Ultimately art inspires us to bring forth beauty into the world, and be better to one another.