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Student Spotlight – Lance Schwiderson

Image of AmanduhLance Schwiderson/Amanduh (BFA ’23, Interarts Performance) is a nonbinary visual and performing artist. Specifically they are focused on animation and drag performance. Lance has cultivated a drag persona by the name of Amanduh, and they love performing everything from emotional Mariah Carey ballads to playful music theatre character songs.

 

What inspires you as a performer?
I find myself inspired by everything queer. Since I recently came out as nonbinary, I have noticed my profound love for all things queer.

 

Tell us about one of your mentors.
My freshman year I found an amazing mentor through my scholarship (the Kessler Scholars) and she was a senior studying history. She was so good at listening to me and my new queer struggles and always tried to find ways to help me. She has since graduated and went to Harvard Divinity School to study history of religion. I am still using the advice she has given me to power through even the most difficult of my college struggles.

 

What are you currently working on?
Right now, I am working on mostly class work in my painting, animation, and intro to acting classes. In animation, I am working on a piece about the feeling of being misgendered.

 

What is special about Michigan?
Michigan is special to me because there is so much freedom in creating my own curriculum, and sometimes that freedom can feel really daunting.

 

Animation image by Lance Schwiderson
Have you adapted your artistic practice during the pandemic?
During the pandemic making any form of art has been really hard. I tried to create an Instagram Live drag show but viewership was low and my motivation to continue was not there. I’ve found that I can only truly make art when I feel comfortable in my own space and want to get my feelings out. In these times, I find that being an artist means reflecting on my true feelings and creating something to represent that.

 

What is something you learned about yourself in 2020 that you want to take forward with you in your life?
Something I learned this year that I will take with me is taking time for myself when I need it. I have always put myself second and that’s no longer the case. I cannot function as a person or artist if I don’t respect myself and my limits.

 

What’s next?
What’s next for me and Amanduh? I am learning how to become a better storyteller through my visual and performance art. I am excited to develop Amanduh further and feature her in my visual works as a representation of my growth as a nonbinary person.