Celebrating Creative Women: Artist Panel

"There is a vitality, a life force...that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist." --Martha Graham

For some, creative energy takes the form of a recognized art.  For others, it unfolds in their home, relationships and work.  Art has the ability to wake in each of us the choice to compose a life worth living.  Regardless if you identify as an artist, the collective wisdom and unfolding lives of these creative women, may just inspire you to fully claim your unique voice. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask this fierce panel their own burning questions. Why and how do they do what they do? What motivates and inspires them to move through the very real and complex challenges of creating? Together, we will explore how to sustain and unleash our unique, expressive self.

Panelists: Jacqueline Dandeneau, Leslie Castellano, Joyce Jonte, Laura Montagna, Vanessa Vrtiak, Lyndsey Battle, Carla Paliaga

The Creative Women


Jacqueline Dandeneau is the Executive Director of Playhouse Arts, which runs the Arcata Playhouse, Apprentice Entertainment, Artists in the School Program, and among other things, Four on the Floor Theater Company.  Jackie co-wrote and produced the historic work, Women of the Northwest, featured in this festival. She is often sited on cabaret stages or huddled with circles of talented artists plotting their next project: perhaps the Creamery Festival, the Family Fun Series, Zero to Fierce, or the Fervor Festival. The sheer magnetism of her personality makes those around her believe if you dream it, you can create it because she has done just that. Before landing in Humboldt, Jackie toured original productions internationally racking up an impressive resume of awards. She is an actor, singer, writer, community activist, Grange member, Mother, and one fierce woman. ArcataPlayhouse.org  FourOnTheFloor.com


Leslie Castellano is founding member of Synapsis, a performance art space in Old Town Eureka dedicated to experiments in art, performance, community. and the body. Leslie is a multidisciplinary artist with focus in movement and performance practice. She works with shifting the state of the body through physical images, touch, magic, and wilderness.  Leslie believes it is necessary to create spaces where people from the margins can express their experiences. She offers classes in contact improvisation, improvisation, butoh, performance making, yoga, and aerial dance. She makes original dance performance with company feralferal.  www.synapsisperformance.com www.feralferal.org


Joyce Jonte has pursued a passionate study of watercolor painting all of her life. She is well known in Northern California for both figurative and floral works. She is co-facilitator of The Arcata Life Drawing Circle, which meets at StewART Studios in Arcata three times each week. See her work online at joycejonte.com  and Joyce Jonte Fine Artist, FB. She is available for commission and has an open studio by appointment. Contact her at 707.498.6324 or Joycejonte@gmail.com


Laura Montagna: Ren·ais·sance woman. Laura loves to say Yes! This is how she has managed to be involved in so many divergent projects. Her passion lies in creation: from inception to final product. Casting for feature films, Curating TEDx events, volunteering at Vidcon and teaching video workshops for youth are some of her passions. Owning game stores, running Improv Comedy groups, and participating in community service club projects take up the rest of her time. In her rare spare time she dinks around on a tenor steel drum, draws and likes getting tea with people she doesn't know.


Vanessa Vrtiak: Poet, Playwright, Activist, Social Worker, Fiance, Sister, Friend, Dreamer. Vanessa is the new Inmate Programs Coordinator at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and will finish her MA in Public Sociology May 2017. Her focus is: reentry in a rural communities. She is the co-host of the Humboldt Poetry Slam, has produced, directed and acted in several Eve Ensler productions, competed in four National Poetry Slams, and published several books of poetry.


Lyndsey Battle is a little quirky… no doubt about that.  She’s from Florida.  Her sincere appreciation of the unusual shines through on Sunday mornings, when Lyndsey (clearly not a morning person) makes a  whole-hearted effort to pull it together and bring you music that may otherwise not have made the trek to KHUM. On any other day, Lyndsey likes to write songs about her love for the simpler things in life, usually with  way too many wacky chord changes.  She spends time with her daughter in the garden and hoards a variety of homegrown canned goods in the garage.  Most apparent is Lyndsey’s desire to make life a little better through creating music.

Carla Paliaga has more teaching credentials than seems possible for one lifetime. Currently, she works as the Kindergarten Teacher at Redwood Coast Montessori. She has consciously carved a life with one part family, one part work, and one part playing with words and melody.  She has contributed to monthly writing groups for the past 15 years, writing a novel, short stories and occasional poems; learned how to play the piano and guitar after becoming a mother; studied and taught singing through Music Together; and is a living example of how carving out time to create, for no other reason than the sheer desire, can lead to a life worth celebrating.


Therese Fitzmaurice is co-founder of A Reason to Listen, which hosts and promotes spoken word events and mindfulness workshops.  Her latest collection of poetry, How to Love this Woman, explores the inner landscape of a life lived contemplating the intersection of spirit & flesh, individual & tribe, offering & receiving. She is honored to cocreate community events with the intention to celebrate the everyday miracle of being alive.  aReasonToListen.com;  HumboldtArtistCollective.org.

March 04, 2017 at 1pm - 3:30pm
Arcata Playhouse
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