Avianna Acid trades jeans and a Northern Arizona University T-shirt for a bright dress and stilettos, pushes her schoolbooks and backpack aside, and heads downtown to a stage and a microphone.
In Flagstaff’s Green Room, the lights dim and the spotlights shine. Drums, horns, piano, bass and guitar fill the air as eight distinct and disparate musicians skillfully let loose a sweet ruckus, inspiring toe-tapping and hip-swinging in the crowd. A striking beauty, Acid has an explosive stage presence, captivating the audience as her powerful voice cascades over Lowcash’s funky rhythms.
The 21-year-old joined the self-proclaimed ‘Dis FUNKtional’ family Lowcash in a spur-of-the-moment decision. “I met them on Tuesday and thought ‘wow, this is cool music.’ By Friday I went out and sang a show with them. We wrote one song and the rest was improvisation.”
Acid spends her days as an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in parks and recreation management with an emphasis in visual communication at NAU. When she’s not in class, she explores the opportunities the university and Flagstaff offer, writing her own vivid story as she becomes a successful young adult.
Spontaneity pervades Acid’s artistic character. The Midwesterner visited NAU on a whim and decided to enroll, inspired by the mountain campus nestled in the beautiful Coconino National Forest.
The cheerful, humble and energetic Acid balances her tight schedule with motivation and a strong work-ethic, a perfect combination that complements her aspiration to start a therapeutic recreation program for inner-city youth.“Flagstaff is amazing,” Acid says with a smile. “There’s a huge art scene and music scene, and part of me likes backpacking and going on adventures, and at NAU adventure’s so close.”
“I’d like to start my own adventure program where kids go backpacking and paint beautiful landscapes, and youth learn the essentials of nature as well as the poetry it evokes,” Acid says. “I want to mix art, music and writing with the outdoors. For inner-city youth, the most influential people often come from the art or music department. I want to mix creativity and wilderness so that it becomes even stronger, so that youth don’t have room to stray or get into bad things.”
Learning to foster ties with the community, Acid is actively involved with Kayettes, a service-oriented student group. She also sharpens up environmentally, gaining hands-on experience in science-based research and outdoor leadership working with NAU Outdoorsand the Ecological Restoration Institute.
Abundant with artistic prowess, Acid’s paintings, drawings and photographs gain nearly as much attention as her stage performances. Locally-owned restaurant, La Bellavia, sponsored her artwork in a showing in March. Several pieces will be on display at the forestry building this summer.
“I feel like I fit in here more than I would anywhere else,” Acid says. “It’s been amazing. It’s the flexibility, the close-knit community and how willing teachers are to go out of their way to help you in any part of your life.”
For now, Acid will continue to share the brilliant colors of her personality with NAU and the Flagstaff community. Poised to begin her senior year, there’s no slowing her down.
“I try to sleep as much as I can, but you only live once, right?