Since Youth in Arts completed our new strategic plan this spring, we wanted to properly introduce our Mentor Artists to our more in-depth model, and to each other. Our artists work directly in the classrooms, so they rarely have a chance to interact. We hosted an “all artist meeting” in August, and it was wonderful to see them talk to, listen to, and learn from one another. Our icebreaker activity was a worksheet that asked the artists to identify a problem in the world today, and how they would use their art form to solve it (using words and/or pictures). The prompt was WITH MY ART I CAN…
Here is Mentor Artist, Katie Issel Pitre’s response and accompanying artwork:
“A problem I see in the world today, is many people being uncomfortable with their own emotions – escaping/avoiding difficult feelings, reactive disempowered people lacking a deep knowledge of self. With my art I can…create a space to explore the self, face, dimensions of human experience and emotion, and gain confidence and compassion to build community. I model moving through emotion using all my actor’s tools. I craft experiences that ask students to step into others shoes, as actors for each other (classroom) and for communities (family).”
Katie teaches various forms of theater and creative movement for Youth in Arts, both in our Arts Unite Us and Artist in Schools programs. She is currently teaching Devised Theater at Davidson Middle School, and at the Canal Alliance’s after school program.
BIO: Katie Issel Pitre is a Berkeley native who recently returned to the Bay Area after 11 years based in Brooklyn. There she worked as a teaching artist in spoken word, devised theatre, mural arts and playwriting throughout the boroughs of New York and New Jersey for Urban Word, Community Word Project, New Victory Theatre, BAM, and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Katie expresses her artistry as a facilitator as she works to bridge the gap between personal and cultural experiences by creating community-building opportunities via the creative process. Her background in dance, voice, theatre and poetry shape her focus as an artist and educator.
Most recently she starred in two short films written and directed by Christopher Wells of Kaleidoscope Pictures called Cynthia and My Fondest which can be found on YouTube. She also participated in an online writing course for women facilitated by Caits Meisner where she produced several new works of poetry. Her writing was featured in a site-specific play series Play/Date, produced by Blake McCarty. As a devising actor she worked with the Trusty Sidekick company, and on two interview theatre pieces, The Class Project, directed by Joe Salvatore, and Layer Cake(actor and writer) performed at the Looking Glass theatre. As a singer in Shell, she wrote and produced an EP. Katie has also performed in multidisciplinary projects featuring her dance training. She designs jewelry for City Seed. Katie holds a MA in Educational Theatre in Colleges and Communities from NYU Steinhardt.