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Emi Chance Scholarship for Aspiring Artists

Emiko “Emi” Chance née Oshimi was born in Japan on Oct. 1, 1935. From the time she was a young girl, she wanted to come to the United States. She held a fascination for America, and began to learn English when she was just 7 by secretly listening to a radio show against her parents’ wishes. World War II had just ended and there was resentment and bitterness against the gaijin (foreigners) who were responsible for killing her two younger brothers in a bombing raid. Still a child, Chance had much interest in the country far across the big ocean, which, her father said, “had yellow-haired and blue-eyed people who spoke another language.”

Chance excelled in school, graduating from high school as valedictorian. She wanted to continue on to college, to formally study art and theatre, but her parents forbid it. Now as the only remaining child, it was the expected tradition that she must remain single and live with them, caring for them until their death. Arguments were carried on, back and forth. Unable to reach a compromise, Chance left her home to work at the U.S. Military in Atsugi, Japan. There, she eventually met and married her husband, Winston Jr.

They came to the U.S. to live in 1960 and arrived in Alaska in 1970. It was then that Chance became involved in the Anchorage Museum, as a shop volunteer, translator and docent. She averaged 500-600 hours of volunteering there a year. Also, she began pursuing her artwork in earnest, trying numerous mediums. She placed and won honorable mentions in some juried art shows.

Painting was her joy, her “therapy,” showing her wonder, her sorrow and her beauty. Painting was how she gave form and expression to her life, and to the many facets of her personality. Painting was her passion, even until the very end.

Chance died in 1994. She was a vibrant, talented and ever-curious woman. She was a creative and adventurous individual who dared to take risks, forging ahead on her own path, never letting convention impose its limiting restraints on her inspiration and ideas. She and her artwork were, in her own words, “one of a kind.”

This memorial scholarship is set up as an ongoing tribute to her life’s energy and work. It is intended to help aspiring artists fulfill their dreams, in a way that she could not.


If you are interested in supporting students through the student opportunity fund this donor supports, please note the UAA scholarship name within the gift designation section at: Donate Now.