TEDxUCLA 2011: Minding, Mining, Mending, Mapping

Minding the children, mending ourselves: violin performance


About Alma

Alma Cielo is a cross-genre violinist, dancer, performing artist.  A graduate of Yale University, she is part of a wide variety of ensembles and theater groups and has performed in venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, Disney Hall, California Plaza, and in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.


So the theme of this, the theme of this conference is “Mining, Minding, Mending, and Mapping.” And so I meditated on that and I thought of as an artist, we mine the crap as well as the gold in our lives and our own experience, and we try to be as real as we can in the moment with that.

And I think also, as Americans, that we have to mine the true history in the United States, which isn’t all gold. There is so much that we can look upon in our history and feel shame for and feel regret for the people who have been broken when the Pilgrims came over with their ideals to create a new world.

And I wanted those voices to come through in the music. I think that as artists and as people, as citizens of this country and of this world, that we do need to mine the hard stuff in ourselves as well as the good and mend it through the processing of it and through coming to terms with it. Anything that is unresolved by a parent will be passed down to the child. So let us mind the children. Mind the children, mending ourselves.

I work at a charter school and I have to say that being around the children feeds me because there was an innocence in them, there’s an innocence. When I learned “America the Beautiful” as a child, we had that idealism. And I think as we grow up, we have had this tendency, through all these different leaders we’ve had who have led us down the wrong road and into the killing of so many people.

I want to honor those who, who have tried to lift up this country, but I think it is in ourselves that we can lift up this nation and the world. It is through finding the dark places, finding the gold in ourselves and passing on, minding what we produce as human beings, as works of art, as the work that we do every single day. It is our responsibility. It’s not to give to the one who is supposed to be hope. Obama? Sure. But there’s only so much one person could do. Every one of us has that same spirit of light. And if we can mind, mend, mine, then we can map through every single individual.

Whatever you have, if we can see that we are a part of this country, we are part of this world, can we give? Can we volunteer? Can we spend some of our gifts with the children? I would not be playing today if it were not for public schools. Music and public schools and the arts are being cut so drastically as an unnecessary thing in our schools.

So I am begging all of us to please, let’s like do what we can to keep giving when there is a definite lack. But it is through the mapping of all of us being in that mind of positivity and giving. I think — I am using that word, but I think that’s the word that’s appropriate — to have the innocence in ourselves and to give what we’ve got to each other, in collaboration, in individual expression, in collaboration. And this will be the new map.

It is not about boundaries of land. It is not boundaries of government. But it is the minds and the hearts and the spirits of every single being connecting and giving of our hearts and our spirit. And so thank you for allowing me to speak. Thank you.