Artworthy: Lisa McPhillips Switkin


Artworthy: Lisa McPhillips Switkin
Occupation: Group home administrator by day; piano player, singer, DJ and sound technician nights and weekends.

Artist or Advocate?
Both . . . I love performing, but I have also been fortunate enough to work in situations where I am able to help other performers work as well, which has been very gratifying. I also feel that we all have a responsibility to share the joy of making music with the generations that follow us. Empowering a child with an instrument and the ability to play it is, I believe, one of the greatest gifts any of us can pass on.

Artistic tool(s) of choice?
Keyboard and mixing board.

First artistic memory?
Sitting next to my Dad on his piano bench, trying to replicate on the high register keys what he was playing on the octaves below. Forty-plus years later, I am still trying to replicate the magic my father was able to create when he placed his hands on a piano.

Defining moment as an artist?
There have been many remarkable moments, but the most inspiring to me was performing in a band next to my husband, my daughter, and her husband, with my grandson in the audience. The first time that occurred, it felt like everything I’d ever hoped for as a musician had come true.

Inspiration or perspiration?
That’s a tough choice, as the inspiration is generally what makes the perspiration necessary.

Favorite art related possession at the moment?
Horace Waters console grand piano, circa 1848, which was salvaged from a fire, and later given to my father as a gift when he was a young man. I inherited the piano when he passed away in 1998.

Why St. Johns County?
I got here 15 years ago, when my former husband was transferred to St. Augustine from Long Island in his job with Northrop-Grumman. I fell in love with St. Augustine from the start, and now can’t imagine living and working anywhere else.

Lisa can usually be found in the back of the tent or room at many of the events that take place around the county. Whether donating her time for an event or playing music herself, you can always expect the best!

For additional details on the cultural events reported to Historic City News by St. Johns Cultural Council, visit their website at www.stjohnsculturalcouncil.org

Photo credit: Tami Johns

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