Vermont Arts Council

I am a Vermont Artist: Mingmar Tsering

“I arrived in Vermont from the Land of Snow,” explains Migmar Tsering, referring to Tibet, his country of birth. Since moving to the Green Mountain State, his life as an artist has evolved in many ways. Migmar shared his thoughts about being a Vermont artist.     
How has living as an artist in Vermont affected your creative process?

Since my arrival in 2011, I have experienced a strange feeling about my creative process as an artist. Early on, I connected with the Tibetan community and felt the need to give Tibetan kids the opportunity to play traditional instruments and to learn our dances and songs. I volunteered to teach these art forms in my community and to perform during the Annual Tibet Festival, the Dalai Lama’s Birthday, and many other occasions. This experience of being an instructor has brought a lot of growth to my creative process.

I have also had the chance to perform for non-Tibetan Vermonters. My creative process has been affected by the need to choose my songs to ensure that my audience understands what I am trying to share. Recently, I have begun composing songs of my own. Knowing that my audience would mostly be non-Tibetans, I’ve made a slight shift in the rhythm and the melody of the songs.
What is something about your art that has changed over time?

These art forms have been a part of me since I was a boy. I’ve discovered the importance of sharing my art because otherwise it would be difficult to explain who I am to the world. Therefore, I’ve started working to improve my skills, and to accept every invitation to perform. I am starting to see a horizon that will show me where I am going with this. I know I just need to keep going.
The journey of learning, sharing, and all the experiences that come along will be the ultimate tool to find a destiny for my art. As of now, my art is about sharing the culture of Tibet, teaching Tibetan kids about their roots, and instilling a sense of individual responsibility to our heritage.
What is your vision for the next several years?

I see many things–smiling young Tibetan-Americans playing the lute and dancing to traditional songs. I see tears in the eyes of elders reflecting their hope in our future generation. I feel how secretly they celebrate the pride of seeing their grandchildren living our culture. I see young people sharing a special connection and taking on the responsibility of sharing our traditions with future generations.
I see myself recording an album to share with the people of Vermont that reflects the rich traditions of Tibet. Those still living in Tibet have become strangers in our own country. Those who have left are struggling to find a home. No matter how challenging our lives may become, we always celebrate being Tibetans and remain deeply rooted to our culture.
My vision for the next several years is to have a school in which everybody will learn Tibetan songs and dances. I want others to feel the joy of putting their steps in Tibetan culture.
This is all I have as a gift; my art.

Watch Migmar perform on VPR’s Live from the Fort.
Read an article about Migmar’s teaching in Seven Days.
View Migmar’s presentation at PechaKucha Night Burlington.

The “I am a Vermont Artist” series explores how artists’ creative expressions reflect their experiences of ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, or age. Covering all artistic disciplines, and a range of backgrounds—from New Americans to the state’s first residents—we hope to amplify voices that deepen our understanding of what it means to be a Vermont artist.

Visit the series archive.