Artist In Focus: Rachael Keplin

Rachael Keplin, Violist, String Educator, and 2024 Artist Support Grantee

Rachael Keplin keeps the arts community ‘looped’ in, both literally and metaphorically. As a classically trained violist and string educator, one of Keplin’s guiding values is making classical music more accessible by weaving it into unexpected spaces and genres.

Experimentation and improvisation play a huge role in her creative practice, and technology has been a game-changer in finding intersections between music styles. With a grant from The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro, she was able to purchase a RC-Boss 600 loop station, a piece of musical recording equipment that allows the user to record their instrument and play it back, enabling the musician to layer sound in real-time to create a lush, ambient composition. This equipment is crucial for her, as it enhances her ability to blend traditional and contemporary elements in her work. Whether teaching or performing, Keplin connects people with music, building spaces for creative experimentation with traditional instruments.

In addition to playing viola, Keplin’s creative pursuits include teaching, practicing, writing, and rehearsals, creating opportunities for herself and others in the music field. With a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Viola Performance from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and her work at both The Music Academy and Wake Forest University, she recognizes the need for artists to support themselves at fair, healthy rates.

When Keplin first arrived in North Carolina, she sought resources to support her creative efforts, similar to the support system she had in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Discovering The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro and receiving the Artist Support Grant allowed her to purchase the looping recording equipment necessary to advance her career.

"Arts Councils are a big part of how artists can support themselves,” says Keplin. “A big round of applause because The ACGG is doing great work.”'.

Beyond the grant, Keplin actively engages in The ACGG’s Artist Happy Hour, a networking opportunity for artists, art students, and art leaders to collaborate. “I loved connecting and receiving mentorship from artists in different fields,” Keplin explains. “It displayed a warm sense of community.”

For Keplin, that’s what it’s all about. “When we play or teach people music, it’s all about connecting,” she says. During her years of training, she was nurtured by caring teachers. Now, she gives back to her community through performance and pedagogy, unifying the cycle of consuming and creating music.

To learn more about Rachael Keplin and her work, you can visit her website at https://keplinrachael.wixsite.com/violist or follow her on social media:

Instagram – @rkeplin

YouTube – @rachaelkeplin.

The ACGG’s Artist Support Grant program is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.