Scenes From the City: Anissa Pulcheon
Writing and photography by Abby McGuire.
If I had the organizational capacity to write a list of the women who rule my world, Anissa would be in bold permanent ink closest to the top. As a woman of many creative works, talents, and hairstyles, she is a goddess of space making. Her ability to create a space for any person who breathes makes my heart swell with gratitude.
She notices everyone. Her in tune personality is a gift, a gift I have been able to receive and share with others.
Anissa has always been an energy force moving near and around me. We both decided to set off for art school and crossed paths over early college hookah smoking and coffee drinking in that one guy’s apartment upstairs. As she was coloring her hair and making the most of her talent, I was dropping out. Now, I am fortunate enough to reconnect with her years later, growing our hair out at the same time and talking over better coffee.
She is the person who sits in the window so that you can find her in her newly purchased pink cut off cords. Inclusive is a word that can somewhat encompass the person I see, smiling and catching me up on all of the amazing things she is getting into. I envy her spirit to dive in and take Cincinnati for a ride.
After spending her childhood south of Toledo, she set her eyes on Cincinnati to pursue an industrial design degree at the University of Cincinnati. We both giggle over the rules they thought we would obey in design school and how we wrecked the standard. I ask how she settled on design and she tells me it was that or a biomedical engineering gig.
She wanted to experiment and create the diversity design needed.
My head spins as she describes the slight pressure she felt to land on something, considering she is the daughter of a mother who immigrated and became an engineer herself. She goes on to tell me her mother ran into another mom in the grocery store and told her about how her son made a 3D printed walnut in the industrial design program and Anissa was sold.
But, like I mentioned, she didn’t necessarily fit the mold the program intended to form her into. She wanted to experiment and create the diversity design needed. Anissa expanded beyond herself and dabbled in unconventional mediums and other creative outlets to fuel her through school.
On the weekends, she was jamming in her house that was right next door to mine. She had been writing music since she was 15, and wanted to explore the music scene but couldn’t because of her underage status. She was confused by the lack of inclusion for people under 21 in the city, so she decided to make it happen. She turned her Clifton house into the “Big Toilet” – a venue for all ages to share music with anyone willing to listen. Events shook her house and mine, making waves for people willing to ride.
As she witnessed other people sharing music, she decided it was time to step out and share hers. Slow come-ons with her and a bassist eventually turned into a full-fledged band that is now known as Wavelette. As a frontwoman singer and songwriter, she creates a raw setting for her emotions to reach out and allow listeners to connect with her. She tells me music makes her a better person; it has allowed her to cope and understand her external and internal world.
She tells me music makes her a better person; it has allowed her to cope and understand her external and internal world.
After graduating just a year ago, she is ripping through the music scene and connecting other makers to creators to artists and so on, making a web of the most talented people this city has to offer. She works jobs that allow her to make time for her music and for creating lines of communication for other artists.
She reflects on how grateful she would have been to know other females making music when she was young. Her first band formed when she reached 21, and if she had someone to look up to, maybe that would have happened sooner. As an active participant in Mahwah, Wavelette, and the Guitar Center teaching program, she feels it is her duty to shed light on the possibilities of music for young females to have access to.
Alongside Emily Ash, Holly Meyer, and Marlo Salem, Anissa is planting rapidly growing roots for a summer program known as Girls Rock Cinci. Together they are raising awareness and funds to send young girls to summer camp to learn guitar, vocals, bass, drums, and band formation techniques so they can eventually write and perform their own songs.
Girls Rock is an organization that exists in major cities across the country, and Anissa felt that it was only right to bring it to our city. After communicating with Girls Rock Columbus, the Cincinnati team has begun laying the groundwork and started fundraising for their own version of Girls Rock. Anissa expresses her excitement for how much support they have already been given after their first official fundraiser at Urban Artifact just a few weeks ago. The funds they raised will allow them to have instruments for the girls to play and perform during the program at MYCincinnati this summer. Not only will they be able to learn and share music, but they hope to find other artists in the city willing to run creative workshops that will expose these young ladies to screenprinting, skateboarding, etc. She wants them to have the confidence to show off in every area they find an interest in.
I need a napkin for the pool of drool under my gaping mouth after hearing her explain her grand plans. Only a force like Anissa could pull this off, and I am so glad she has decided to create yet another platform for creatives like her. She wastes no moment to appreciate others for who they are so that eventually they can share their gifts with the world. She is a true conductor and an electric pulse I want to dance to always.
Please consider donating to Girls Rock Cinci or attending their next event! You can find Anissa’s expressive and amazing music on Bandcamp and around the city as Wavelette.
Have a woman in mind that Abby should chat with? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, check out past Scenes from the City columns and stay tuned for more of the city's hidden gems on the first Saturday of every month.