My name is Alexander Avak, I was born at St. Mary’s hospital 22 years ago and have called Long Beach my home ever since. All of my earliest memories are of Long Beach when my mom would take me to the pride parade, the Ice Dogs hockey games or the beach every Sunday. One of the most heartbreaking days I can remember is when my mom told me we were moving, I remember always wanting to come back. We moved out of a sober living in Long Beach and got our own apartment when I was 5 , after a couple of years moving from city to city we became homeless for a while. We then returned to Long Beach where we were able to get back on our feet with the help of our community and city . My mom fought to get her nursing license back and now works at the same rehabilitation center that took us in. I graduated from Wilson High School and went to Long Beach City College to eventually transfer to CSULB for Audio Technology but in the process of taking electives I gained a love for ceramics and the arts in general. I have always been creating music and this was my first step into physical media. I remember taking screen-printing, photography, ceramics, metalwork/jewelry, and finding a way to finally express myself. During this time I would stay late talking to my ceramics professor Gerardo Moterrubio who became a major role model for me. I will never forget what Gerardo said when I asked if I should go to a UC to study art, “as long as I can afford a pen and paper, I will always be able to create art”. What he said changed my entire perspective on art school and realized that true art comes from the soul, it should tell a story and hold virtuous morals. I then realized that I I did not need somebody to teach me how to make art, I just needed to put the work in. I could go on and on but my main point is that I hope to repay Long Beach and my community for being a solid anchor in my family whether it be through art or community work. Thank you for your time and I hope we can work together soon.