Spotting Mikhail Zorich Part 2: A Conversation with MAE's Project Director

Spotting Mikhail Zorich Part 2: A Conversation with MAE's Project Director

Under the new banner of the Multicultural Arts Exchange, Mikhail continued his work, but it wasn’t always easy. Mikhail became involved in the Northeast Mural Campaign when approached by a local artists Ludmila Makarova. Her student wished to create the first mural in the North East Philly area, dedicated to the local Russian community, but “we ran into a wall of hatred,” Mikhail says. The project was plagued by political problems and anti-immigrant sentiments. “People called it trash, junk, graffiti,” Mikhail explains. The project was abandoned after two months. However, Four years later, another organization succeeded in creating a first mural in Mayfair, Philadelphia. “Story of my life,” Mikhail comments, “Whatever we’re starting, even if we don’t finish it, it continues.”

So Mikhail continues his work at MAE, bringing performances from all walks of life to North East Philly. And those who share his passion find him. “It can be an audience of 200, 300 people, or just 10 or 15,” Mikhail says, “but you feel an energy, an actual energy field in the auditorium. You see it in people’s eyes. You talk to them after the event. You need to feel it.” 

And people feel it. At these events the future supporters, volunteers, and artists of MAE find Mikhail. The organization received a three-year grant all because an ambassador of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund happen to attend a performance of poetry, on a day snow poured down and only a few attended. At a 7-string gypsy performance with a much larger audience, two gifted sopranos attended. Soon the pair will be performing at their own MAE event. 

The future of Mikhail and the Multicultural Arts Exchange remains clear, to make Northeast Philadelphia a cultural destination. Mikhail is doing what he does best--talking to people, genuinely connecting--while he designs the upcoming MAE season. “It’s a natural process when you are in the community, in that network. People are coming to you,” Mikhail explains. “The power of a local network is the power of connection and coincidence.” 

Next time you’re in Northeast Philly, and you happen to spot Mikhail Zorich, strike up a conversation with him. It may just lead to unexpected places. 

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Guests Have Said

  • “It has been a great pleasure to work with Multicultural Arts Exchange! I enjoyed the company of the organizers - Michael Zorich and his team. Thank you very much for sharing the gift of the brilliant music performance with people. Thanks to you it is affordable and amazing!”
    Vlad Pochepinski
  • "I was lucky to attend a concert in Northeast Philadelphia in a synagogue Shaare Shamayim to see 'Three Tenors' in their tribute to the legendary Maria Lanza. I personally got a great inspiration from an exclusive selection of favorite areas and popular Italian music as from beautiful academic singers. The audience was excited and did not want to leave the hall! Everyone, including myself, is so grateful to Michael Zorich, who organized such a special concert."
    Ella Lomazova
  • “Had a great time on Saturday 9/9 at the opera dinner at Melody Restaurant. Great people running MAE and fantastic singers with Opera on Tap. First time at Melody restaurant and I thought the food was GREAT!”
    Daniel Pantano
  • “I was with my family at the concert yesterday. We all had so much fun. Thanks to the organizers for a wonderful concert! The performance has surpassed all my expectations and left a lasting impression!”
    Natalia Glick
  • “Four of us enjoyed Justin Gonzalez's beautiful voice, his touching stories and great song selection. Even my husband, who only has place for rock in his soul, liked it a lot. Thank you for organizing the concert. Look forward to more events like that!”
    Paulina Korchagin

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