Alaska Artists Explain Why it Matters

Jann Mylet • April 5, 2021

As a part of the national "Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation" initiative, administered by the Federation of State Humanities Councils and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Forum is supporting a series of events and activities around voting, engagement, and democracy to strengthen civic connection and participation throughout Alaska.

Anyone who participates in Why it Matters by submitting a story or hosting a Voting Story Circle will receive our Why-It-Matters thank you package with a conversation card deck, an AKHF notebook, and stickers designed by Alaska artists Ted Kim and Alyssa Quintyne (Quintyne's image is on the left in this photo; Kim's is on the right.)

Below, the artists reflect on why it matters to them:

WIM gifts

'To Thrive' is about the lesson of engagement. My mom would take me into the polls, go through the ballot, answer all of my grievances, and of course, I would get the sticker. I feel that instilled the act of engagement into me. We all can be overwhelmed from politics because we are all trying to survive. Our systems don’t always allow us to live with dignity and access. Our elected leaders don’t always represent us, nor the futures we need. So a lot of us can’t engage in the ways that we would otherwise. However, the interesting intersection is that with communities marginalized, we don’t have a choice but to engage. We have to engage to advocate for our own survival. Voting is one way to secure our survival - name change protocols, medical coverage, access to clean water and air, food and emergency services, voting access. It’s less about candidates and parties, and more about having a future. To thrive, and not just survive. That’s why it matters.


Creating art is all I’ve known my entire life. The drive isn’t for money or fame. It’s simply something I feel I need to do. I’ve learned sharing my art comes with rewards like being able to inspire others to create and the hope is that it does make a difference in a positive way. I don’t need much to live. I just want to take care of my friends, family and that’s about all I need. It’s the same with voting and participating in my community. You can do that stuff for your own self-interest—to make more money, to get ahead—or you can do it with hopes that everyone has enough to be happy and share their own good vibes with the world.

Alaska Humanities Forum

The Alaska Humanities Forum is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that designs and facilitates experiences to bridge distance and difference – programming that shares and preserves the stories of people and places across our vast state, and explores what it means to be Alaskan.

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