General Registration for Statera National Conference Closes on September 30th

Join us for the Statera National Conference in New York City from October 26-27, 2019. Meet with theatre professionals from all over the country to network, learn, renew, share, and more! StateraCon is all about intersectional gender balance and our goal is to take positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the American Theatre. StateraCon is open to all theatre professionals, practitioners, students and enthusiasts regardless of gender or age: administrators, designers, dramaturgs, educators, technicians, actors, advocates, etc.

No need to put on your game face. No need to “gear up”. Statera’s National Conference is a place for collective healing and creative coalition building. We want you to bring your whole self to conference. Yes, there will be strategy sessions, tool-gathering, and networking. Yes, there will be industry panels, touchstone addresses, and breakout sessions. But StateraCon is not your average arts conference. We are shifting the culture from one where myths surrounding lack, competition, and isolation are replaced by authentic experiences of collaboration, connection, and positive action.

DEADLINES TO REMEMBER

September 30, 2019 - General Registration ($300) and Student Registration ($150) closes at midnight EST. We anticipate selling out before then, so register now to secure your spot.

October 1, 2019 - Late Registration ($350) opens until sold out. 

Touchstone speakers: Tony-winner Joanna Gleason (left) and nationally recognized director May Adrales (right).

Touchstone speakers: Tony-winner Joanna Gleason (left) and nationally recognized director May Adrales (right).

TOUCHSTONE SPEAKERS

Joanna Gleason is revered by Broadway audiences for her unforgettable portrayal of The Baker’s Wife in the original company of Into the Woods. Other Broadway credits include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Nick and Nora, Day in the Death of Joe Egg, and Sons of The Prophet among others. Her extensive film and TV work includes Boogie Nights, Crimes & Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Wedding Planner, The West Wing, ER, The Good Wife, and a host of other projects. Joanna has been teaching in high schools and colleges around the country for thirty years, and has directed Off-Broadway as well as for television. More information HERE.

May Adrales, a director, teacher and arts leader. May helmed the world premiere of Lortel Award and Obie Award-Winning production VIETGONE at Manhattan Theatre Club/ South Coast Rep, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and Seattle Rep. She has just been named the Associate Artistic Director of Milwaukee Rep. May served as Director of On Site Programming at the Lark Play Development Center (2008-2010), developing programs to support and nurture over 200 playwrights. She served as an Artistic Associate at The Public Theater (2006-2009), spearheading the Shakespeare Lab, a professional conservatory, and overseeing community engagement programs in the outer boroughs. Adrales is the recipient of the TCG Alan Schneider Directing Award; Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s inaugural Denham Fellowship and the Paul Green Emerging Directing award. She is a recipient of a TCG New Generations grant. She has been awarded directing fellowships at New York Theater Workshop; Women's Project; SoHo Rep; and The Drama League. She has directed and taught at NYU, Juilliard, American Conservatory Theater, American Repertory Theater, Fordham University and Bard College.

From StateraCon 2018 (left to right): Christine Jugueta, Maggie Rogers, Sage Martin, Lydiah Dola.

From StateraCon 2018 (left to right): Christine Jugueta, Maggie Rogers, Sage Martin, Lydiah Dola.

Register Today

StateraArts is proud to partner this year with City College of New York and the Department of Theatre and Speech (CCNY) for our fourth international conference. The theme for StateraConIV is Coalition Building.

StateraCon is open to everyone. We invite and welcome all gender identities, all races and ethnicities, all religions and creeds, countries of origin, all immigrants and refugees, all abilities and disabilities, and all sexual orientations. Everyone is welcome here. 

See the full speaker line-up >>>

See the full conference schedule >>>

Registration includes access to all Statera Conference programming. This includes touchstone addresses, plenaries, workshops, breakout sessions, panel discussions, admission to organized social gatherings, and a conference swag bag. General Registration ($300) is available until September 30th or until we sell out. Remember that Statera Members receive the early bird rate ($250) as long as registration is open. Please read the StateraCon Refund & Cancellation Policies before registering.


*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all. 

Statera Celebrates Successful $25K Fundraising Match

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StateraArts is celebrating this week, because YOU helped us reach our fundraising goal of $25,000! Deep gratitude goes out to all of our volunteers, our incredible donors, and to everyone who participated in our #WhyDoYouStatera campaign.

Also, a huge thank you to Torie Wiggins, Vanessa DeSilvio, Chris Sanders, Valerie Rachelle, Brenda Jean Foley, Maggie Rogers, Jackie Vanderbeck, and Kelcey Anyá who participated in our Statera Community Conversation series. You have our thanks and our deepest admiration.

And thank you to our indefatigable champion Martha Richards of WomenArts who matched your donations dollar for dollar, bringing Statera’s fundraising total to $50,000. Nonprofit fundraising can be a serious slog, but you - our incredible community - make this work so meaningful and gratifying. This has been a humbling and powerful campaign. Thank you for fitting social change into your budget and for choosing to make StateraArts your home. We are so glad you’re here.

#WhyDoYouStatera continues!

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Join Broadway and TV Stars for "Changemakers" Fundraiser Benefiting StateraArts Mentorship

“Changemakers” features Amanda Green (left) and is hosted by Dale Soules (right)

“Changemakers” features Amanda Green (left) and is hosted by Dale Soules (right)

Did you know that last year only 17% of creative leadership roles on Broadway were held by women? To help change the stage, The Green Room 42 presents Changemakers: A Celebration of Women and StateraArts on Thursday, August, 22nd at 7 PM. Join veterans from Broadway, Television, and Film for tales of sisterhood, challenges in the workplace, and overcoming adversity.

The evening will uplift, amplify, and advance women* artists, featuring Tony-nominated Lyricist/Composer and award-winning performer Amanda Green (“Hands on a Hardbody”). Broadway veteran and three-time SAG Award winner Dale Soules, widely-known as inmate Frieda Berlin on “Orange Is The New Black”, will host. There will also be a panel talk led by Rachel Spencer Hewitt, founder of the Parent Artist Advocacy League. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the StateraArts Mentorship. StateraArts is a national organization that brings women into full and equal participation in the arts.

The evening is Directed and Produced by Mara Jill Herman with Assistant Direction by Ashley Ruth Jones and Music Direction by Julianne B Merrill. Below you’ll find a list of the incredible line-up of performers for “Changemakers”.

Emily Borromeo

Emily Borromeo

Andrea Presinario

Andrea Presinario

Aurelia Williams

Aurelia Williams

Caitlin McKechney

Caitlin McKechney

Gina Naomi Baez

Gina Naomi Baez

Carly Kincannon

Carly Kincannon

Amanda Lea LaVergne

Amanda Lea LaVergne

Hannah Rose

Hannah Rose

Ashley Ruth Jones

Ashley Ruth Jones

Liisi LaFontaine

Liisi LaFontaine

Ilana Levine

Ilana Levine

Kara Lindsay

Kara Lindsay

Lianah Sta. Ana

Lianah Sta. Ana

Meredith Beck

Meredith Beck

Jennifer Lorae

Jennifer Lorae

Annemarie Rosano

Annemarie Rosano

Talia Suskauer

Talia Suskauer

Alison Lea Bender

Alison Lea Bender

Kristine Reese

Kristine Reese

Sarah Stevens

Sarah Stevens

Janice Landry

Janice Landry

Rachel Spencer Hewitt

Rachel Spencer Hewitt

Mara Jill Herman

Mara Jill Herman

Julianne B. Merrill

Julianne B. Merrill

For a little more information about the evening, StateraArts spoke with director Mara Jill Herman.

StateraArts: First of all, thank you for hosting this amazing event in honor of StateraArts Mentorship! Why is arts advocacy such an important part of your work as an individual artist? 

Mara Jill Herman: I can’t remember a time in my life without the arts. I’ve spent a great deal of my career on stage but I also find great joy in outreach. One of my passions is to bring smart, creative, and generous people together in a room. The arts provided me with direction, purpose, and a sense of identity that ultimately shaped who I am today. When those in power threaten to eliminate arts funding and programming, they send a message to all artists that we don’t matter. But we cannot compromise the human experience and erase a future generation of makers. Art is meant to challenge. It is meant to stimulate invigorating conversation and connect people.  

SA: Tell us about your upcoming fundraiser: "Changemakers."

MJH: In 2018, I was deeply charged by Women’s Day On Broadway and wrote about it for OnStage Blog. I learned that nearly 70% of Broadway audiences are made up of female-identifying patrons but only 17% of those productions have women at the helm. This statistic shocked and ignited me. The Women’s Day symposium and more recently, Rachel Chavkin’s 2019 Tony winning speech for Best Director, are among the driving forces behind “Changemakers.” I admire those who seek change and do not accept the status quo. Women who take action and use their platform to advocate for greater representation both on and off the stage are among those to be featured in this event.

There will be never-told-before tales of sisterhood, mentorship, challenges, and overcoming adversity. These personal stories will lead into songs crossing various musical genres. We’ve got pop, folk, some musical theater, original songs, and even a Celtic trio! I’m also very jazzed that actor, activist, and mother, Rachel Spencer Hewitt, will lead a panel talk on the Parent Artist Advocacy League, an organization she founded that creates family-friendly practices in the theater. And Ms. Hewitt will engage in dialogue with some surprise guests! 

SA: Tell us about a defining moment in your arts career when you felt supported and uplifted. 

MJH: I’ve had several defining moments in my early arts career: acting in musicals at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts, earning recognition by the National YoungArts Foundation, and getting thrown on mid-show as an understudy in Nerds at Philadelphia Theater Company. However, the recent catalyst for forging forward as a producer is my participation in America’s Sweethearts. This tight-knit group of supportive women motivates me and holds me accountable without a shred of competition. Our boss, Carly Kincannon, who will appear on the 22nd, also facilitated a residency at one of New York’s hottest entertainment venues, The Green Room 42. And that is where I produced my first benefit Stronger Than Hate, A Benefit for Tree Of Life Synagogue.

SA: Tell us a little more about the lineup for the evening.

MJH: The lineup is an embarrassment of riches! Tony-nominated Lyricist/Composer and award-winning performer Amanda Green (Hands on a Hardbody) will appear and three-time SAG Award winner Dale Soules, widely-known as inmate Frieda Berlin on Orange Is The New Black, will host. The diverse cast includes: Lianah Sta. Ana (Miss Saigon), Gina Naomi Baez (She's Gotta Have It), Alison Lea Bender (We So Hapa), Emily Borromeo (Broadway Bounty Hunter), Galway Girls (feat. Meredith Beck, Janice Landry, Caitlin McKechney), Carly Kincannon (America's Sweethearts), Liisi LaFontaine (Dreamgirls), Kara Lindsay (Newsies), Jennifer Lorae (Hard Times), Andrea Prestinario (Side Show, Jeff Award), Kristine Reese (Finding Neverland), Hannah Rose (Olay Live!), Talia Suskauer (Be More Chill), America's Sweethearts (feat. Amanda Lea LaVergne, Annemarie Rosano, Sarah Stevens), and Aurelia Williams (Once On This Island).

Equity News September 2015

Equity News September 2015

SA: With so many organizations our there, why did you chose StateraArts as the beneficiary of Changemakers? 

MJH: I met Melinda Pfundstein at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in 2005. She was a well-established leading lady, and I really looked up to her. Years later, I saw her photo with Kate Shindle on the cover of Equity’s newsletter, and the national impact of StateraArts set in. In 2016, I joined Statera’s pilot mentorship program and found it so rewarding to mentor an early-career individual. The word Statera, stemming from the Latin word for balance, also resonates with me. There are so many women in the Statera community who thrive in their professional lives but also create and nurture families of their own. I aspire to be one of them.

Graphic Design by Brittney Keim.

Graphic Design by Brittney Keim.

Don’t miss Changemakers: A Celebration of Women and StateraArts on Thursday, August 22nd at 7PM. You can purchase tickets HERE.  *Those who can't make it but want to donate to the event are invited to contact Mara Jill Herman: mara@marajillherman.com.

 

Digging Deeper: Artistic Directors Hiring Women Behind the Scenes

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As part of Statera's midyear giving campaign, we're publishing a series of deep-dive conversations centered around community, purpose, advocacy, and action. We are asking members of our community to share their “why” with us. In this video, director, choreographer, and artistic director of the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Valerie Rachelle, reveals her early trials as a freelancer and shares her thoughts on gender equity in hiring practices.

In addition to her work as a director and arts leader, Valerie is part of the founding team for the Southern Oregon Chapter of Statera Mentrorship, launching in the winter of 2020.

More about the Oregon Cabaret Theatre >>>

Did you catch our previous Statera Community Conversations?

Statera Members will also have early access to two additional Statera Community Conversations in the coming weeks:

  • "Fat Discrimination in the Arts: Societal Obsession with Smallness" a conversation with Maggie Rogers

  • "We're Ready for New Narratives: Black Women in Media" a conversation with Chris Sanders

Questioning Authority: the glorification of politeness as a means of controlling women

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As part of Statera's midyear giving campaign, we're publishing a series of deep-dive conversations centered around community, purpose, advocacy, and action. We are asking members of our community to share their “why” with us. In this video, actor and writer Jackie Vanderbeck shares her thoughts on overcoming early negative messaging, the process of claiming personal agency in spaces where there is a power imbalance, and empowering others to do the same.

In addition to her work as an actor and writer, Jackie is also the founding Artistic Director of Sing For Your Seniors. Jackie has been a member of the Statera Community since October 2016 when she attended Statera’s National Conference in Denver, CO. Jackie is a Statera Ambassador as well as a Statera Member.

Read more about Jackie >>>

Did you catch our previous Statera Community Conversations?

The conversation continues in the coming weeks. Next up?

  • "Digging Deeper: Artistic Directors Hiring Women Behind the Scenes" a conversation with Valerie Rachelle

Statera Members will also have early access to two additional Statera Community Conversations:

  • "Fat Discrimination in the Arts: Societal Obsession with Smallness" a conversation with Maggie Rogers

  • "We're Ready for New Narratives: Black Women in Media" a conversation with Chris Sanders

10 More Days to Reach $25,000

As of this afternoon, the Statera community has raised almost $20,000 towards our $25K goal! Thank you to everyone who has contributed! Statera’s midyear giving campaign ends on August 15th, and we need your help.

Most of Statera’s work for gender parity and equity in the arts is done through volunteer hours, innovative grassroots movement, and sheer will. But its also achieved by individual donations big and small.

We’re thrilled that Martha Richards of WomenArts has come forward with a $25,000 matching gift as part of our mid-year giving campaign. This is an enormous opportunity for StateraArts to renew our dynamic programming, dig deeper, and continue providing pathways forward for women* in the arts.

We can’t do it without you.

We have ten more days to meet our $25,000 goal. Let’s do it! Give $5. Give $10. Give what you can. No gift is too small. Every dollar will be matched. Whatever your reason, now is the time to contribute at www.stateraarts.org/donate.

#WhyDoYouStatera

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Transforming Negative Messaging Through Collaboration

Photo by Mikki Schaffner

Photo by Mikki Schaffner

As part of Statera's midyear giving campaign, we're publishing a series of deep-dive conversations centered around community, purpose, advocacy, and action. We are asking members of our community to share their “why” with us. In this video, actor and choreographer Kelcey Anyá shares her thoughts about how she overcame negative messaging early in her career through collaboration and a willingness to try new things.

Kelcey has been a member of the Statera Community since October 2018 when she attended Statera’s National Conference in Milwaukee. In addition to her work as a performer and choreographer, Kelcey is also a mentee in the Statera Mentorship NYC Chapter.

Did you catch last week’s conversation?

The conversation continues in the coming weeks. Next up?

  • "Questioning Authority: the Glorification of Politeness as a Means of Controlling Women" a conversation with Jackie Vanderbeck

  • "Digging Deeper: Artistic Directors Hiring Women Behind the Scenes" a conversation with Valerie Rachelle

Statera Members will also have access to two additional Statera Community Conversations:

  • "Fat Discrimination in the Arts: Societal Obsession with Smallness" a conversation with Maggie Rogers

  • "We're Ready for New Narratives: Black Women in Media" a conversation with Chris Sanders

Announcing the 2019 StateraCon Grant Recipients

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On behalf of the entire StateraArts team, thank you to everyone who applied for a 2019 grant or made an award nomination! The volume of applications received this year clearly illustrates the continued critical need for artist funding and resources. For this reason, StateraArts remains committed to making our awards accessible to all artists through a free, open call for submissions.

We’re thrilled to share that this year, StateraArts awarded $9320 in funding directly to artists and arts organizations. Below you’ll find the names of of 2019 StateraCon grant recipients. For a full list of 2019 grant and award recipients and to find the latest information on Statera opportunities and grants, please visit www.stateraarts.org/grants-awards

2019 STATERA NATIONAL CONFERENCE TRAVEL GRANTS

Alejandra Luna
Chris Sanders
Tia Laulusa
TBA - stay tuned


2019 STATERA NATIONAL CONFERENCE TUITION GRANTS

Adriana Gaviria
Alejandra Luna
Christine Bruno
Clare Brennan
Jeanine Robinson
Woodzick
Kelcey A Broomfield
Kelly Ground
Lisa Wolpe
Lori DeLappe-Grondin
Lormarev Jones
Maizy Broderick Scarpa
Maleni Chaitoo
Michaela Goldhaber
Patricia Noonan
Suellen da Costa Coelho
Susan Young Keels
Tia Laulusa
TBA - recipient has been notified, but not yet accepted
TBA - recipient has been notified, but not yet accepted

Statera Member Spotlight: Malini Singh McDonald

StateraArts members come from all over the USA and all genres of art-making. They are educators, arts leaders, activists, content-creators, professional artists, early career, mid-career, patrons, and community organizers. The Statera Member Spotlight is just one way StateraArts uplifts and amplifies the voices of our members. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Malini Singh McDonald.

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STATERA: What inspires your work most?
MALINI SINGH McDONALD:
Other people. One of the great opportunities I have with Theatre Beyond Broadway is that I'm aware of who is creating. And I have to tell you, being able to see what other people are doing at all levels (when it’s very green; in the early stage of their development; a complete rewrite or reworking of a piece; all of it) and the fact that we are all willing to keep creating, inspires me. Also, whenever someone has a desire to create something and I'm able to have a hand in making that come through, it fulfills me. I always tell people, "if you have a dream go after it!" You can. Dreams do come true. You just have to have a clear path about what you're going to do to achieve them.

SA: What is your occupation or calling in the arts?
MSM:
I am a director, producer, and publicist.

SA: What organizations are you affiliated with?
MSM:
Co-VP of Communications for the League of Professional Theatre Women, a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Associate Producer for the Broadway Artist Connection, producing partner for The Anthropologists, and a member of StateraArts! 

SA: Tell us about your favorite project you've done thus far.
MSM:
That's hard! Recently I directed The Wiz in Liberia, West Africa with a group of young people (Matsiko World Choir) who had never done theatre. They've never seen it or performed it. They definitely had experience singing in front of crowds but that is a different platform. It was definitely a teaching opportunity. It was also difficult because we were only there for twelve days and The Wiz is not an easy show! The luxuries we have in NYC isn’t quite available. You can't simply run down the road to grab a prop or call your theatre connections to ask for glow tape. It was literally, "What do we have at hand and what can we do with it?". But it was magical because we had 42 kids performing and 8 on the production team and to get to see 50 kids' eyes light up and the theatre bug bite them, it's inexpressible. Theatre is lives in all of us. The desire for acceptance and validation is universal. Watching them take in the fact that they made this from scratch (we let them create the set), and to hear the applause they received was inspiring.

SA: Why did you become a STATERA member?
MSM:
There's something fiery about how you inspire and talk about artists of all backgrounds. I often wonder, "Are we creating a bigger conversation or just talking amongst ourselves?" We could all sit in someone’s living room and talk about the woes of the world for hours, but what action are we taking? Statera is fueling that action. The way Statera builds opportunity is so important. StateraCon is also really exciting to me - to get to see what other women are doing. I'm at a place in my career where I don't need to do things just to do them. Being in action is really important to me. However I show up, I want to make sure I'm making a change, a difference, being a voice for someone who doesn't have a voice yet. I can do that. I also have a ridiculous circle of warrior women (and men) who are my sisters and brothers in arms. The women I surround myself with are fire-starters. I'm looking forward to making more of these connections through Statera.

SA: Any upcoming projects you'd like to share with us?
MSM:
I'm producing the Cherry Orchard at Dixon Place at the end of this year, and am on the team for Chasing Rainbows at Paper Mill Playhouse. I always try to have a commercial project and an indie project on my docket together!

SA: Tell us about another woman or non-binary artist who inspires your work.
MSM:
Marina Abramovic is someone I'm kind of obsessed with. It feels like she is doing what I don't have the guts to do. She’s the person who I think "Okay, wow you are truly an artist. You are breaking boundaries." I think at times I channel a little bit of that energy, but never completely. Not to that extent.

SA: Mentorship is at the core of the STATERA mission. Tell us about one of your mentors. How did they shape you or provide pathways for opportunity?
MSM:
My mentor is my professor from undergrad, Eleanor. I've known her since I was 18. She embodies everything I want to be. She is strong woman, clear about what she wants, and clear about her needs. That attracted so many of us to want to be under her tutelage. Eleanor taught us that we had to learn every aspect of the theatre, respect everyone on the team, that not one artist was better than the other because of "title". Her casts were diverse regardless of the time period of a production. As a result, we all had a chance to perform in classics, musicals, etc. She's the one who said to me, "Malini, why don't you direct?". She's my biggest fan, and I still see her often. There's yet to be a show where I didn't have a conversation with her first. Eleanor is always so proud of me. I can tell. This industry is difficult for someone who looks like me. It didn't come easily for her either. She lived and worked in the midst of the theatre community here in New York City in the 1970s and so forth, and while she was perfectly qualified, she never directed on Broadway, like she'd dreamed. There weren't many women being given that opportunity then. She’s been a happy retiree, still teaching and still inspiring me. I hope I am carrying that fire.


ABOUT MALINI

MALINI SINGH MCDONALD is a native New Yorker who has been involved in the arts for her entire life. She received her BA in Theatre Arts and English Literature from Baruch College and her MFA in Directing from the Actors Studio Drama School. Select theatre credits include the upcoming Chasing Rainbow (Paper Mill Playhouse), the revival of Godspell (Producer, Broadway Revival); The Year of Living Dangerously (Publicist, 54 Below); Whiskey Pants: The Mayor of Williamsburg (Publicist, HERE Arts Center); From Ship to Shape (Publicist, Winner of Two United Solo Awards); The Eternal Space (Associate Producer & Marketing Director, Theatre Row); The Wiz (Director, Matsiko World Orphan Choir, Liberia); Torch Song Trilogy (Director, ATA); Hamlet: The Viking Prince of Denmark (Producer, Black Henna Productions). Malini is also the founder of Theatre Beyond Broadway which provides a platform to promote and support independent artists. Malini is the Co-VP of Communications for the League of Professional Theatre Women, a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, the Associate Producer for the Broadway Artist Connection, producing partner for The Anthropologists, and a member of StateraArts. Malini has been recognized for her role in the community with the Woman of Distinction Award for her contribution to Media, Arts and Culture from the City of New York. www.malinism.com and www.theatrebeyondbroadway.com.

International Mother Artist Day is August 2nd

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Mark your calendars and get ready to celebrate! International Mother Artist Day is Friday, August 2nd! Originally founded by the Parent Artist Advocacy League (PAAL) and the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival (PWTF), International Mother Artis Day is a time to celebrate and support mother artists everywhere!

In a recent PAAL blog post, Executive Director Rachel Spencer Hewitt says, “The goal of International Mother Artists Day is to form community and find strength in relationship. We network to increase opportunity and gather resources, and from those joys we can create art, opportunity, and supportive solutions.”

Origins of International Mother Artist Day

In 2018, the PAAL joined forces with the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival for the first Motherhood Reading Festival, which featured four days of four mother directors, four mother playwrights, themes that integrated motherhood, and theatre programming for children on-site simultaneously with the reading series for parents to be able to attend with their families.

During the 2018 festival brainstorming sessions, one of the initiatives floated was “International Mother Artist Day,” where the hashtag #intlmotherartistday was used across the world on social media to celebrate the mother artists we are, the mother artists we know, and/or the mother artists who inspire us – all on one, explosive, empowering, and united thread.

More about Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival

The 2019 Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival is happening August 1-4 at the Arden Theatre Company at the Hamilton Family Arts Center. PWTF fosters and encourages women in the performing arts by offering unique opportunities for exposure, professional, artistic and personal development and a platform for performance. For the full schedule, please visit www.phillywomenstheatrefest.org/2019-festival.

Get Involved!

Join PAAL, PWTF, StateraArts, and countless other arts organizations on InstagramFacebook, and/or Twitter by celebrating yourself, a mother artist you know, and/or a mother artist who inspires you! We’d also love to know your insight as an ally or parent to the reality of being a mother artist. Thank you for supporting parents, for celebrating with us, and for looking out for ways to change the way the world for the better for mother artists everywhere. See you there!

 
CLICK THIS IMAGE TO REPOST AND SPREAD THE WORD!

CLICK THIS IMAGE TO REPOST AND SPREAD THE WORD!

 

 To tag and get a repost, copy+paste and include this line for Instagram:
#intlmotherartistday @paaltheatre @phillywomenstheatrefest

To tag and get a retweet, copy+paste and include this line for Twitter:
#intlmotherartistday @paaltheatre @womensthtrfest

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#intlmotherartistday @paaltheatre @philadelphiawomenstheatrefest

Representation and Mentorship in the Arts: You Are Not Alone

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As part of Statera's midyear giving campaign, we're publishing a series of deep-dive conversations centered around community, purpose, advocacy, and action. We are asking members of our community to share their “why” with us. In this video, actor and educator Torie Wiggins shares her thoughts about isolation, mentorship, the need for connection, academia, professional theatre, and her feelings on the word "diversity".

Torie has been a member of the Statera Community since October 2018 when she presented a breakout session at Statera’s National Conference in Milwaukee called "The Magic Stands Alone: The Importance of Solo Performance for Women in Theatre". In addition to her work as an actor and professor, Torie is also a mentor to many early career artists and an advocate for women in the arts. You can read her full bio HERE.

The conversation continues in the coming weeks. Next up?

  • "Questioning Authority: the Glorification of Politeness as a Means of Controlling Women" a conversation with Jackie Vanderbeck

  • "Digging Deeper: Artistic Directors Hiring Women Behind the Scenes" a conversation with Valerie Rachelle

  • "Transforming Negative Messaging Through Collaboration" a conversation with Kelcey Anyá

Statera Members will also have access to two additional Statera Community Conversations:

  • "Fat Discrimination in the Arts: Societal Obsession with Smallness" a conversation with Maggie Rogers

  • "We're Ready for New Narratives: Black Women in Media" a conversation with Chris Sanders

Our Goal: 1000 Donors Strong

StateraArts is moving mountains. In our first four years we have:

  • Hosted 3 national conferences

  • Launched 12 Mentorship Chapters nationwide, with 10 in development for 2020

  • Matched over 450 mentors and mentees

  • Hosted International SWAN Day 2019 with events in 36 countries

  • Awarded $8,650 in support grants for women artists

  • Hosted a living resource directory

Most of our work for gender parity and equity in the arts is done through volunteer hours, innovative grassroots movement, and sheer will. But its also achieved by individual donations big and small.

We’re thrilled that Martha Richards of WomenArts has come forward with a $25,000 matching gift as part of our mid-year giving campaign. This is an enormous opportunity for StateraArts to renew our dynamic programming, dig deeper, and continue providing pathways forward for women* in the arts. We need your help now.

The StateraArts community is a force of nature, consisting of thousands of artists and arts leaders nationwide. Whether you're donating because of our national mentorship program, our incredible conferences, our free resource directory, our membership program, our workshops on radical inclusion, our curated industry information on social media, International SWAN Day, or our advocacy work for equal pay and access for women and non-binary artists, your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar!

If 1,000 people donate $25 each by August 15th, we'll easily meet our goal!
Whatever your reason, now is the time to contribute at 
www.stateraarts.org/donate.

#WhyDoYouStatera

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*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all. 

Why Do You Statera?

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Dear Statera Community,

I Statera. The verb. I am Statera. I am balance, yes. But I also create balance. I build pathways. I am a pathway. I disrupt oppressive systems. I innovate solutions. Yes, I take up space and hold the door open for those behind me, but I also kick the door down for women around me to do the same. For me. For you. For longevity and relevance of the arts, which I love. For my three daughters.

#WhyDoYouStatera?

We are asking the growing Statera community to share about what it means to be a woman today. What messages do you receive about being a woman. About women around you? How do you disrupt oppressive systems?

Common themes arise. Whether told directly or implied, the message has been that women must play small, be quiet, and compete for space and opportunity. The result? A common feeling of being alone in the journey.

We believe that isolation is a lie. Statera consciously chooses community and collaboration over competition. We actively create pathways for women artists to advancement and full participation in the arts.

Today we launch our second $25,000 matching gift campaign thanks to the trust and generosity of Martha Richards and WomenArts. Every dollar is doubled. Every dollar counts.

Three ways to give.
100% of all donations directly serve Statera programs:

  1. Visit StateraArts on Facebook

  2. Visit our website at www.stateraarts.org/donate

  3. Send a check to:
    StateraArts
    755 S. Main St., Ste. 4 #281
    Cedar City, UT 84720

Isolation is a lie. We invite you to help us prove it.

Yours in Statera, (balance)

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Melinda (she/her)
Executive Director


Supporting and donating to StateraArts is deeply personal. We all have our reasons for being a part of the Statera community. This summer, we’re asking that you share your “why” with us. Why are you an agent of change in the gender parity movement? Tell us why you support StateraArts. What about the Statera community feeds your soul? Why does gender equity in the arts matter to you? Why Do You Statera?

Share your story on social media using #WhyDoYouStatera.

Share a photo on social media of you and your work
in the arts with a story using #WhyDoYouStatera.

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Highlights of Statera at Andromeda's Sisters Arts Advocacy Gala

StateraArts believes in collaboration over competition and we actively seek opportunities to partner with organizations that are creating pathways for advancement for women in the arts.

Last weekend StateraArts joined The Neo-Political Cowgirls (NPC) theatre collective at the historic John Drew theatre at Guild Hall in East Hampton, New York for the final day of their annual Andromeda’s Sisters Arts & Advocacy Gala. The incredible people behind NPC are doing such exciting and important work to create gender balance in arts on Long Island. The StateraArts team was honored to participate.

During our time at Andromeda’s Sisters, Statera’s Operations Director Sarah Greenman, facilitated a creative writing and advocacy workshop which was attended by local artists, writers, activists, community partners, and philanthropists. Greenman was also interviewed by NPC’s Artistic Director, Kate Mueth, followed by a Q & A with attendees.

Thank you to Kate Mueth and the Neo-Political Cowgirls for inviting StateraArts to facilitate Day 2 of Andromeda’s Sisters! Below, you’ll find some snapshots from the event.

Statera workshop participants on Day 2 of Andromeda’s Sisters.

Statera workshop participants on Day 2 of Andromeda’s Sisters.

Statera workshop participants share their writing.

Statera workshop participants share their writing.

Blythe Danner during a play reading on Day 1.

Blythe Danner during a play reading on Day 1.

Laura Gomez during a play reading on Day 1.

Laura Gomez during a play reading on Day 1.

Workshop participants on Day 2.

Workshop participants on Day 2.

Sarah Greenman (left) and Kate Mueth (right).

Sarah Greenman (left) and Kate Mueth (right).


Statera Hosts Membership Event in Cedar City

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On Sunday, June 9, StateraArts hosted an intimate membership drive event in conjunction with Art Works Gallery and Artisans Art Gallery in Cedar City, Utah. Executive Director Melinda Pfundstein and Statera Board Member Sam White (pictured above) both spoke about, Statera’s grassroots work for gender parity in the arts, Statera’s unique mentorship program and the addition of a Southern Utah Mentorship Chapter in the winter of 2020. Both Pfundstein and White are in Cedar City directing in the 2019 Utah Shakespeare Festival season.

Founding members of Women of Will Theatre also spoke at the event. The theatre group was established in 2016 during a brainstorm at Statera’s 3rd National Conference.

Interested in becoming a Statera Member? Please visit stateraarts.org/membership for more information.

Here’s a closer look at the event:

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Statera Member Spotlight: Andrea Prestinario

StateraArts Membership is growing fast! Since our official launch on January 1st, over 100 artist-activists have joined the StateraArts community! Our members come from all over the USA and all genres of art-making. They are educators, arts leaders, activists, content-creators, professional artists, early career, mid-career, patrons, and community organizers. The Statera Member Spotlight is just one way StateraArts uplifts and amplifies the voices of our members. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Prestinario.

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STATERA: What inspires your work most?
ANDREA PRESTINARIO:
First and foremost, my work is inherently inspired by a calling to use my gifts and voice to give back to the world. And secondly, my work is rooted in a foundational belief that being an artist has saved me. And I mean “saved” in a "I feel like I will implode when I can't express myself" way. My work is my release. My work is my life's purpose. I love the lyrics by songwriter Ani DiFranco: "Art is why I get up in the morning, but ya know, my definition ends there and it doesn't seem fair that I'm living for something I can't even define." It's all so undefined and ephemeral and magical and intense… but it's all inspiration to me.

SA: What is your occupation or calling in the arts?
AP: Actress / Singer / Producer / Community Organizer

SA: What does gender parity in the arts look like to you?
AP:
What I envision is a future where women and TGNC artists are valued equitably with the other half of the human race in this industry. In short - it looks like smashing the patriarchy. The first way we achieve this is through education: education of the white supremacist, patriarchal systems of power.  Have you heard the saying "fish don't know they're in water"? If you tried to explain it, they’d say, “Water? What’s water?” They’re so surrounded by it, that it’s impossible to see. They can’t see it until they get outside of it. The Honorable Hillary Clinton references it in her book What Happened in regards to patriarchy: some people can't see the structural systems in place because it's all-consuming and we're, er, swimming in it. And I think often about how the basic understanding of patriarchy is what hinders so many people from working against it. Once we understand it, we can work within the framework to dismantle it. As artists, we are resourceful and adaptable and we tell stories about humanity, so who better to achieve gender parity and dismantle these systemic power abuses than the arts industry?! 

SA: What do you love most about your artistic community?
AP:
I love my many artist circles because artists are resourceful, adaptable, creative, personable, entertaining, passionate, passionate, and passionate. I am obsessed with centering myself around people that feel their feelings and crackle and percolate at a high energy... it makes me feel alive. 

SA: What organizations are you affiliated with?
AP:
I'm the co-founder and Director of Operations of Ring of Keys - a national network of queer women, trans, and gender non-conforming artists working in musical theatre;  I am the Board Chair of National Queer Theater; I'm a member of my alma mater's Alumni Council for the Department of Theatre and Dance at Ball State University, I'm a 10-year card-carrying Member of Actors' Equity ...and I'm a member of Statera!


SA: Why did you become a STATERA member?
AP:
Because feminism and theatre have always been my two passions, and anytime I have the opportunity to see them existing at an intersection, it pumps me up! So in essence, Statera pumps me up! My personal mission aligns so well with Statera's: to use positive action to advocate for and amplify women and marginalized voices. Theatre has always been political, but in the musical theatre medium (which is the medium I work in primarily) a political ethos isn't necessarily at the forefront. Throughout my 20s, my passions felt very siloed: political activism in one corner, and musical theatre in another. And I feel like I spent most of my 20s searching for that intersection. There's been a surge of activism within theatre circles, which I feel has happened since the 2016 election, and it's the light in the Trumpian darkness. The Statera community has been one of those lights that I stumbled upon, and I'm grateful to be able to count myself as a member. 

SA: When did you feel most supported or championed by the women in your life?   
AP:
I'm fortunate to have a core group of 8 girlfriends from high school and we have remained strong for the last 20 years. I’m the only one working in the arts, but our friendship began in our high school theatre classes. From breakups to deaths to promotions to parenting - we have combated so many different life milestones together - it’s actually pretty remarkable. And despite our career, geographic, and lifestyle differences, they have still supported me throughout my career by championing me with their words and showing up to my performances all over the country. And I, in turn, champion them. I think it's actually really refreshing to have friendships outside of the business. And I think those friendships keep me grounded. 

SA: Tell us about your favorite project you've done thus far.
AP:
I have so many favorite productions that I've done, but I think Ring of Keys, as a whole, could be considered my favorite project. My co-founder and I launched Ring of Keys in January of 2018 as the solution to what we saw as a problem in casting and a lack of community. We were tired of feeling isolated as the token lesbian anytime we were in a production. I like to say musical theatre is gay but not queer, meaning: it’s representing cis gay male stories and artists, but what about the full spectrum of queer? Ring of Keys "strives to kick-(ball-change) the closet door open and reveal a vibrant, diverse musical theatre landscape for the future;" we want to queer the stage. As an arts service organization, we are about community and visibility and serve our mission through our Member Directory, located on our website, which operates as a hiring resource. Since our launch last year, we have grown from 3 members to 250+ Members all over the nation (as well as in Toronto and London!).

SA: Any upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? 
AP:
I've been working on and off on a documentary theatre piece about child-free womanhood. It focuses specifically on women in their 30s. It's an interview-based devised work that explores the theatricalized, tick-tock experience of being child-free - whether by choice, indecision, fertility trials, singledom, or a myriad of other experiences. I started working on this piece after a lot of research on "advanced maternal age" (the age of women over 35) when I was 35. I felt as though all of the women in my life were talking around this topic, but in private conversations. From a single friend who desperately wanted to have a child with a partner, to the married friend feeling indecisive about motherhood yet intensely urgent to make a choice, to myself (who is gay and has never wanted children). I personally have had to  defend this decision repeatedly against folks that treat motherhood as the default choice. It feels like something we need to be talking about as a community so we aren't wrestling with these choices alone. I'm currently collecting and transcribing interviews. Any person who feels they'd like to be interviewed for this project should contact me!

SA: Tell us about another woman or non-binary artist who inspires your work. 
AP:
I know this is probably cliché to say, but my girlfriend, Klea Blackhurst, inspires my work. She and I met doing a production of GYPSY, and she is such an inspiration for her insane talent, her resilience in the face of constant showbiz rejection, and her musical theatre knowledge! And a side note: I am sometimes full of rage that her name is not on top of every marquee in this city because she is such a star! She values curiosity most, and in our home we talk a lot about the importance of always maintaining this essential human characteristic: to be curious about the world - in people not like you, in interests outside of the arts, to even be curious in why you're not being curious! It's important to know the history of that which came before. It's important to ask why. That is our job as artists: to ask these questions and take it all in, and then express that humanity in our work. 

SA: Mentorship is at the core of the STATERA mission. Tell us about one of your mentors. How did they shape you or provide pathways for opportunity?
AP:
One of my earliest mentors is my friend Michelle. When I was 11, I was in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Chicago Theatre with Donny Osmond and Michelle worked as a dresser. After the show closed (and because there was no internet yet), we became pen pals, and are dear friends still to this day. While I didn't know it at the time, Michelle, who is gay, told me in adulthood that what she saw in me was a gay kid growing up in the Midwest, and she wanted to make sure I had the support I may need as I grew up. It's incredibly emotional that she made the investment in me that she did. Not only was/is she a queer role model, but she has remained in the arts, and always has such sage advice for me within the business, about relationships, how to manage time... I can only hope to pay it forward someday.  


ABOUT ANDREA

Andrea Prestinario is an award-winning actress, singer, and activist who is NYC-based and Chicago-grown. Regional – Baltimore Center Stage: Fun Home (Alison); Weston Playhouse: Fun Home (Alison), Guys & Dolls (Sarah Brown); Asolo Rep: My Fair Lady (Eliza) dir. Frank Galati; A.C.T. San Francisco: 1776 (Martha) dir. Frank Galati; Paramount Theatre Aurora: RENT (Maureen), My Fair Lady (Eliza); Lyric Opera Chicago: Oklahoma! (Gertie) dir. Gary Griffin; Drury Lane Oakbrook: Gypsy (Louise), Curtains, Sugar, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Writers’ Theatre: Oh, Coward!; Boho Theatre Company: Side Show (Violet – Jeff Award, Leading Actress). Solo show – sMOkeyTOWN: The Songs of Smokey Robinson: Laurie Beechman, Mayne Stage Chicago, Feinstein’s/54 Below, Beverly Arts Center Chicago, Metropolis (Arlington Heights) Arts Center.
Education – BFA Ball State University (Musical Theatre), The School at Steppenwolf. Professional – Co-founder: Ring of Keys, a national network of queer women and TGNC artists working in musical theatre.
You can follow Andrea via her website www.andreaprestinario.com or on social media @andreaprestinario.

New Harmony Project Receives First PAAL-Statera Match Grant

StateraArts is thrilled to announce that we have partnered with the Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts (PAAL) to offer the first ever PAAL-Statera Match Grant. This new award has been given to The New Harmony Project, an organization dedicated to writers. Its site beautifully sums up this commitment, stating that "For more than three decades, The New Harmony Project has lifted up optimistic, hopeful stories of strength, courage, and the resiliency of the human spirit."

The New Harmony Project's commitment to uplifting new work with a focus on inclusive and collaborative practices - including support for parent artists - makes its programming a robust and well-fit recipient for the first PAAL-Statera match grant.

The New Harmony Project has decades of established family and caregiver support within their institution. In addition to financial support, The New Harmony Project provides family friendly accommodations and flexible rehearsal schedules to aid parent writers and artists when available.

With parent artistic and executive directors at the helm, caregiver support has been informed by leadership's understanding of the importance for parent artists to immerse themselves in professional communities for increased opportunity and development. New Harmony Project’s all-family support for multi-disciplinary professional development excited us because of the impact this commitment has on freelance artists in search of an inclusive arts community.

With their decades of supporting new work and commitment to formalizing parent support, PAAL and StateraArts look forward to providing a platform for The New Harmony Project to continue their institutional support of freelance artists, impacting the work created by parents and care-givers, and making possible written stories that represent the full scope of human experience.


*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all. 

Statera Mentorship: Meet the Central Coast Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. We’re so excited to share that Statera Mentorship is now in California’s Central Coast Area, serving both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. We caught up with Regional Coordinators Emily Trask and Karin Hendricks to talk about the newly formed Central Coast chapter. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Central Coast Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: Statera Mentorship: Central Coast
Instagram: @stateraarts_centralcal
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Central Coast Regional Coordinators (left to right) Kitty Balay, Emily Trask, Jennifer Zornow, and Karin Hendricks.

Central Coast Regional Coordinators (left to right) Kitty Balay, Emily Trask, Jennifer Zornow, and Karin Hendricks.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Emily Trask: I think that as women in our society and in our profession, we are taught early and often to question our instincts and quiet our voices to make them more palatable.  However, I believe that as a woman and as a theatre artist your voice is your strongest, most valuable muscle and tool -- literally and figuratively.  Having a mentor to help you identify, exercise, and utilize that unique voice and those inherent instincts is invaluable - particularly in a field that is sowed with so much gray area.

Karin Hendricks: To speak specifically to our arts community in the Central Coast of California, we have the challenge of being relatively spread out. The distance between each professional theatre and training program leads to a lot of disconnect between us. Many established theatre-makers in the Central Coast are familiar with other established theatre-makers, but in many cases have never met face to face. Bringing Statera Mentorship here will provide the much-needed opportunity for the Central Coast to strengthen as an arts community. By building a bridge between artists, the Statera Mentorship program will also be able to expose mentees to diverse artistic experiences and will provide them with valuable new perspectives on their art and their career.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Emily: I am a Resident Artist and the Literary Associate/Hurlbert Artistic Fellow at Pacific Conservatory Theater/PCPA.  As professional actress and theatre artist for 15 years, I have worked all across the country – from Broadway houses to site-specific Guerilla Theatre pieces, to film, television, voice-over and commercials.  As a director, I have directed readings, workshops, and productions professionally and academically.  As a dramaturg, I am a freelance script consultant, a production dramaturg, and have been a contributing scholar to publications, programs, and on-line resources.  As an educator I have taught theatre in Graduate Programs all the way to Grade Schools, with a focus on the Classics and New Work.

Karin: I am an Assistant Professor of Acting and Performance at the Theatre and Dance Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I teach mostly performance-based courses including Acting, Voice and Diction, Dialect, Musical Theatre, and Community-based Verbatim Theatre. I am also a director for Cal Poly’s mainstage season. Outside of the University, I work in the local professional theatre scene as a director, an actor, a dialect coach, and a Verbatim Theatre playwright.

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Central Coast arts scene?

Karin: I moved to the Central Coast after completing my MFA at UC Irvine in 2009. I served as a Resident Artist and Head of Movement Curriculum at PCPA (The Pacific Conservatory Theatre) for 9 years where I performed and instructed actors in training. PCPA is where I co-founded an ongoing Verbatim Community-Based Theatre project- Community Speaks!, which has been performed annually with PCPA in the Central Coast since it’s 2009 inception. Recently I made the choice to step away from PCPA and engage fulltime with the Theatre and Dance Department at Cal Poly. I am so pleased to be living in the beautiful Central Coast of California and to be witnessing it’s growing arts scene!

Emily: Midwest born and raised, I grew up in Wisconsin and graduated with a Bachelors in Theater/Literature from Grinnell College in Iowa. I went on to receive my Masters in Fine Arts in Acting from the Yale School of Drama.  My professional dream was always to be a member of a resident company - so after living and working in New York City for a few years, I joined the Acting Company at the Tony Award Winning Alley Theatre and, just this year, relocated yet again to join the company at The Pacific Conservatory Theatre – where I not only get to act, but teach as well (another great passion).  My incredible husband, Michael, and our ancient cat, Ramona Salami, hope we won’t be relocating again any time too soon 

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Emily: I don’t think I could isolate it down to one specific moment, experience, or individual.  I have been incredibly lucky to have had amazing female mentors at every stage of my artistic journey – women whom I admire artistically and as human beings.  However, my first mentor of the kind (other than my remarkable mother) is an amazing woman and friend named Bev Denor.   

During my Senior Year of High School, the local theater in my hometown was doing Our Town.  I hadn’t done much theater up till that point, but I had read the play Our Town in my High School English class and had loved it so much I decided to audition.  Unfortunately, it turned out we were going to be out of town on the day of the auditions.  Bev Denor was directing the play, and although she had never met me before, she decided to be kind and let me audition for her at a separate time.  However, due to scheduling constraints, it had to be during store hours at her bookstore (La De Da Books and Beans Shameless plug for the best Indie Bookstore in North Eastern Wisconsin)!  I knew so little about theater and even less about auditioning that I actually brought my giant English text book with Our Townin it and read a scene right out of the book for my audition!   Instead of judging this wide-eyed, English Textbook toting, redhead, Bev was supportive, wonderful, and saw something in me that I hadn’t yet seen in myself.  She cast me as Emily, and over the next years Bev and I became artistic partners in crime.  She fostered my artistic spirit and appetite with support, encouragement, and friendship… and she still does.  

However, if Bev hadn’t been willing to “hold space” for that emerging artist all those years ago, I truly believe I wouldn’t be the artist or person I am today.

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Karin: I had the incredible opportunity to present my paper, The Story Matters: Supporting Gender Equity through Conscious Theatre-Making, at the Statera Conference in Milwaukee, October 2018. At the conference, I reconnected with one of my favorite people from my graduate program at UCI, Erika Haaland, who is the National Co-Director of Statera Mentorship. Erika and I chatted about getting the Central Coast involved with this incredible program. The mentorship program that Erika and the other National Co-Director, Minita Gandhi, have created with Statera is so amazing that I wanted to be a part of bringing it my area.

Emily: I actually worked with Melinda Pfundstein and Shelly Gaza my first summer at The Utah Shakespeare Festival!  So, I have been aware of the great work Statera has doing. I also worked with Minita Ghandi at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre a number of years ago (she was actually my understudy in a production of Tartuffe).  However, it wasn’t until Minita and I recently reconnected while she was back at PCPA this past season doing her play Muthalandthat we began the Central Coast Mentorship conversation.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Emily:  My experience as a woman in the theater has been profoundly challenging and also deeply rewarding.  I think my leadership style and why I’m called to Mentorship is encompassed in that very dichotomy: challenge and cost coexisting with joy and the reward.  I believe honesty and benevolence are not mutually exclusive, but are rather an indomitable combination.

Karin: Some of my personal journey as a young artist was spent longing for a mentor who would support me without judgement, and who had my best interest at heart. I would have loved for this mentor to not only be able to address my questions, concerns, and passions about being an artist in my industry, but to be able to give me a womxn artist perspective. I’ve always wished that I had more womxn artists in my life that could help me navigate difficult choices and circumstances that womxn specifically face. There were also times throughout the years that I needed to be lifted up as I was feeling hopeless in my career and could have used extra support. It’s truly a privilege for me to be in a position in which young artists ask me for my advice and guidance and I get the opportunity to lift THEM up.

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Emily: We are very excited to be launching our Central Coast Mentorship Program this July! I am also excited to share that I will be concluding a run of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder in the Solvang Theatre with PCPA this June, followed by (what promises to be) a fabulous production of The Importance of Being Earneststarring my amazing Co-Regional Coordinator, Kitty Balay, this August. 

And as Literary Associate, the fall I will be helping to usher back in an exciting play reading series at The Pacific Conservatory Theatre called Interplay:  Three fresh plays, with dialogue around the dialogue.  This September on the Central Coast. And you can find me at  emilytrask.net.

Karin: My writing partner, Christian Arteaga, is the recent recipient of the Define Americans Arts Fellowship. Christian and I will be working over the next several months to apply the fellowship resources to an original Community-Based Verbatim play about his experience as a young theatre-making “dreamer” in America. I will share more information as we go!

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentee or mentor for the next Central Coast class at www.stateraarts.org/central-coast-mentorship. And if you have questions, please visit Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all. 

Statera Mentorship: Meet the Philadelphia Regional Coordinator

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in Philadelphia and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Philadelphia Regional Coordinator, Anne Goodman. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Philadelphia Chapter Founded: Spring 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: Statera Mentorship Philadelphia Chapter
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Philadelphia Regional Coordinator Anne Goodman.

Philadelphia Regional Coordinator Anne Goodman.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Anne Goodman: I think the best feeling comes from fixing another woman's crown. There are so many women who feel like they don't have a voice, who don't know where they are going, who just need someone to tell them to keep going, who just need a buddy to cry to when she has been on her 5th audition this week and nothing is panning out. We need to lift each other up and mentorship is an amazing way to do just that. 

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Anne: I have jumped around in admin theater a lot over the years because I can't decide which one suits me and my family. Stage management remains my all time favorite, but I haven't figured out a way to balance stage management and my family life, so I am currently (and loving) the Development Director at at the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival. I have a masters in Arts Admin from Southern Utah University and an undergrad from DeSales in Center Valley, PA. Both schools have a great relationship with the Shakespearean Festivals during the summer, and I've had the wonderful opportunity to work at both for a few seasons. I have worked Shakespeare Festivals, Off-Broadway, in regional theaters, summer stock, operas, community theaters, you name it- again this is where the jumping around in positions come into play. I guess I just like keeping busy and keeping my options open. 

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Philadelphia arts scene?

Anne: I guess my first intro to arts in Philly was during school, many eons ago. DeSales University/Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival is only an hour from Philly so many artists would come up from Philly to participate in the Festival and we would go into Philly to see shows. As I moved around in my life, I remained close with the alumni from DeSales and PSF and started to see Philly as my artistic home- going back to see shows, and catching up with colleagues and friends. When the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival was in its infancy, I jumped on the possibility of being part of their family. I have been with PWTF since their first festival, 5 years ago. It has been such an exciting opportunity to watch this little seedling of a project grow into a company that highlights women's voices, women's stories, women's careers, and provides opportunities for all women. 

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Anne: I have had *a lot* of really incredible mentees! So, this is a story about one of my mentees. I was doing my thing- going about my business, like I do, stage managing this project, working on that. In her mind she wanted to be like me. In my mind- I had no idea who she was. She followed my career path - in a very professional and not creepy sort of way. Our paths crossed and we worked on the same project together and we began bouncing ideas off of each other, collaborating, sharing projects, networking together, and became amazing friends. Sometimes we wont see each other for months, but she's one of those people who will call me out of the blue with a quick question about fire-certification or casting or event management or just to tell me about the cool new project she's working on. Our lives have taken different trajectories and now I am living vicariously through her work! 

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Anne: I was doing some research for the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival about other companies who solely focus on women and came across StateraArts. The missions of PWTF and Statera are very closely related that just made sense to jump onboard with Statera.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Anne: I have often been told that I am a "people's leader". I love talking to people, but am not afraid to tell them what the problem is, or how I need to use their skills. I am also not afraid to ask for help, but have learned how to do this strategically. I have a knack for reading the room, sensing the little things like room temperature or this person needs more water, or this person is distracted because her binder is a different color- little things. So as a leader, I try to foresee those little things so people can focus on the task at hand. I'll take care of the little things... and the not so little things. I'm always behind the scenes because I would much rather set the stage, literally and figuratively, for someone else to shine. 

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Anne: Currently, we are gearing up for our 5th anniversary season at the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival. This year's Festival is all about the stories of Philadelphia women. We have found some amazing plays about Philadelphia women who are struggling with their current state of affairs in Philadelphia. Some of these stories are about women years ago dealing with the patriarchy, other stories are about women today dealing with current Philadelphia life. I don't want to give too much away- stay tuned for the official season announcement! 

I'm also working on a current non-arts related project which is very personal to me. Joan's Reach is a non-profit organization that provides information and support for families continuing a pregnancy with a life-limiting diagnosis. Joan's Reach raises awareness of perinatal hospice and palliative care so that parents who receive the devastating news that their baby will likely die before or shortly after birth will receive adequate support at the time of diagnosis and beyond.

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentee or mentor for the next class in Philadelphia at www.stateraarts.org/philadelphia-mentorship. And if you have questions, please visit Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all. 

Statera Mentorship: Meet the Los Angeles Regional Coordinators

Mentorship is at the core of Statera's mission of taking positive action to bring women* into full and equal participation in the arts. Statera Mentorship is now in the Los Angeles area and we’re thrilled to introduce you to the Los Angeles Regional Coordinators. Here are some quick stats before we dive in:

Los Angeles Chapter Founded: Winter 2019
Dates: Class I runs from July 1 - December 31, 2019
Application deadline: Class I mentor/mentee applications are due by June 1, 2019
Website: Statera Mentorship Los Angeles Chapter
Facebook: Statera Mentorship

Los Angeles Regional Coordinators (left to right) Amber Friendly, Anatasha Blakely, and Siobhan Doherty.

Los Angeles Regional Coordinators (left to right) Amber Friendly, Anatasha Blakely, and Siobhan Doherty.

STATERA: What do you see as the greatest need and/or the most common need for mentorship relationships?

Amber Friendly: I think the greatest need depends on the individual and where they're at in their journey, but generally, I think it's important to have someone you can connect with who is a little farther along in their career and can act as a supportive figure. Sometimes that support is just having someone with experience to bounce ideas off of, sometimes it can be to provide more of a guiding role. And for the person acting as the mentor, it can be easy to take for granted the knowledge that you've accumulated over the years. Sharing what you know is a great way to deepen your own understanding of a concept as well as gain an appreciation for what you've learned along the way. 

Anatasha Blakely: Growth is hard. We all want to get better and sometimes we don't know how. In Tools of Titans Tim Ferris says "What you do is more important than how you do everything else, and doing something well does not make it important... Being busy is a form of laziness. Being busy is often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions." Every great mentor I've had has kept me from wasting a whole lot of time doing the unimportant things. When you're starting out with a new skill or reaching new peaks it's often hard to know which path to take, which action will really help. They have lived it. The good ones guide you away from time wasters and put you on a path to find your own voice.

Siobhan Doherty: Support, and a willingness to understand that it may mean something different to each person. Some people may want someone to support them by pushing them out of their comfort zone, and challenging them, and other people may feel most supported when they're listened to and gently encouraged along their path.

STATERA: Tell us about your work in the theatre / or in the arts.

Anatasha: I began as an actor and got a degree from SUU. But lately I've found myself improvising, writing and filmmaking! What a world!

Siobhan: I'm an actor, writer, producer, and teacher. 

Amber: I'm an actress and writer based in Los Angeles by way of Chicago. In Chicago, I worked primarily in theatre. Now, my work is focused primarily on television and voiceover. I've been lucky to work on some great projects, but some of my favorites have been How to Get Away With Murder, Children's Hospital, Shameless, and NCIS: LA.

STATERA: Can you share about your journey to the Los Angeles area arts scene?

Siobhan: I never thought I'd end up in LA. I grew up doing musical theater, so I always thought I'd end up in New York, but after going to grad school at UC Irvine, I got into writing and producing for film, so I've been in LA ever since. Nowadays I'm mostly writing and directing my own projects, teaching, and looking to get back into the theater scene in LA.

Amber: I grew up around Chicago and first came to the West Coast to attend the MFA Acting program at the University of California, Irvine. That was the first time I had spent more than a week west of the Mississippi. After I graduated, I moved up to Los Angeles and have been lucky enough to connect with some wonderfully creative artists in my time here. LA is a city that is filled with so much culture and ingenuity; I constantly feel like I'm discovering something new.

Anatasha: This question exhausts me. Ha! All I'll say is that LA is exhausting in the best way. And don't knock it ‘til you try it.

STATERA: What is your own most memorable mentorship experience?

Siobhan: My experience with the first iteration of the Statera Mentorship program - and specifically my mentor, Sylvie Zamora - was instrumental in my current career path. When we started our meeting, I was working a lot of freelance/side-hustle jobs and feeling lost and disconnected from my art, and I'm now on faculty at two colleges in their actor training programs. Meeting with Sylvie and being able to voice what I was looking for in my career and brainstorm ways to move in that direction has changed my life dramatically.

Anatasha: I met the most amazing woman, Jet Eveleth, at the iO West bar. (When iO West was still an improv theatre and not a drug and gun den. She looked me in the eye, made me feel seen and then told me to promise her I would make beautiful art before I died. She then continued to light a fire under my butt for 5 years just by being herself. (If you're ever in Los Angeles you MUST attend her insanely beautiful class: Church Clown.

Amber: I think that mentorship is something that happens at different points in your career because we are always evolving and learning. That said, my most recent show is freshest in my mind. I was in production for about six months and just the collective knowledge on that set was staggering. It really was a group of generous, kind people who were very accomplished. I am truly grateful for every member of the cast and crew who shared their knowledge and vision with me.  

STATERA: How did you become connected to Statera Mentorship? 

Anatasha: Melinda Pfundstein. She's a saint. I could never deny her anything.

Siobhan: I worked with Melinda Pfundstein at Utah Shakespeare Festival back in 2013, before Statera was founded, and heard about the early stages of it through social media. It's been fascinating to watch it grow and connect our theater community across the country, and I knew I wanted to be part of that.

Amber: Siobhan Doherty, who I went to graduate school with and still work with today approached me and let me know about her experience with the program.

STATERA: Talk to us about your leadership style and why you're called to work in this capacity for your community. 

Amber: In terms of my leadership style, I like to break things down into clear goals and strategies. Just about anything can be tackled if you take it piece by piece. And helping other people realize their own talents feeds into my own artistry. It's like watching a light turn on and it helps keep me inspired on my own creative journey.  

Anatasha: I've always thought I had lovely taste in people and I'm not afraid to tell them what's wonderful about them. Not sure if that's a leadership style but my buddies always tell me I'm a collector of "shiny rocks" and I adore getting those "rocks" to love and meet each other. Called to do the work... because there is nothing I love more than seeing someone step into their power. Fuck yeah! Sorry, can I swear on here? Eh. Bleep it if you must.

Siobhan: Lead with humility and imperfection. Each time I step into a leadership role, I am reminded that none of us know for sure what we're doing - yes, we may have navigated something similar before, but it's never exactly the same. We're all here on planet earth trying to figure this life thing out. Not being afraid to say "I don't know the answer" but being willing to go figure it out or find someone who knows, is, I think, one of the most useful qualities in a leader.

STATERA: What recent personal projects or upcoming projects are you excited about?

Anatasha: I am shooting a short film I wrote. My first time directing a film. I'm super stoked and wildly terrified (in the good storm-chaser-wind-in-my-hair kind of way). God bless us, everyone. I'm also headed to the Shakespeare Project in Anniston, Alabama in August to play Macduff. For future updates about said film and possible pictures of me killing Macbeth (I've been promised a dagger fight, y'all) you can check me out on Instagram @anatashablakely.

Siobhan: I'm one of the creators of Dame Sketch Comedy, which I'm super proud of: Dame Sketch Comedy. I'm also directing Sarah Ruhl's Orlando in the Fall at Studio School.

Amber: I recently wrapped on the Morning Show, which will air on the upcoming show Apple plus service. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steve Carrell, and many other amazingly talented people. I can't wait for everyone to see it. You can follow me @AmberFriendly on Twitter and Instagra for updates on everything I have coming down the pipeline. 

Interested in learning more about Statera Mentorship? Visit www.stateraarts.org/mentorship. Apply by June 1st to be a mentee or mentor for the next class in the Los Angeles Area at www.stateraarts.org/los-angeles-mentorship. And if you have questions, please visit Statera Mentorship: Frequently Asked Questions.


*A NOTE ON INCLUSION AT STATERA

Women: Statera recognizes the limiting nature of the binary use of woman. We serve and welcome anyone on the gender spectrum who identifies either always or some of the time as a woman. We also serve and welcome those who identify as non-binary. 

Intersectionality: StateraArts works through an intersectional lens for gender parity. We understand and acknowledge that systems of oppression and discrimination are interdependent and span all social categorizations such as race, class, gender, ability, religion, parental status, size, age, and sexual orientation as they apply to a given individual or group. Addressing one spoke of systematic discrimination or disadvantage means holistically addressing them all.