Staff Spotlight: Kristin Reese, Executive Director

In celebration of Women’s History Month, we would like to feature our Executive Director, Kristin Reese.

1. When did you first realize you were an artist or wanted to be an artist?

I knew that I wanted to be an artist at a very young age. I started dance lessons when I was around 4 and I was always singing and dancing around the house. It wasn’t until my time at Sonoma State University, while working towards my music degree, that I actually thought of myself as an artist/musician. I was a very shy teenager and young adult and while I participated in all of the arts, from theater, to art class, to piano lessons, I didn’t feel confident in my skills as an artist. It took having a very supportive voice coach to help me say “I am a singer!”

2. You have worked in a variety of art mediums, do you have a favorite? If so, why is it your favorite?

I think it’s probably a tie between singing and dancing. I get to practice singing regularly (before COVID) through my band, Bodie 601 and with home duets with my husband. I enjoy belting out a meaningful melody on a solo tune, but there’s nothing like that feeling you get when you are in perfect harmony with others. My favorite experience was being in a full chorus in college, singing Mozart’s Requiem. The sound of a 100+ person group with 8-part harmonies is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. The sound wraps around you like a blanket of tingles. While I love dance as much as music, I haven’t had the opportunity to participate in this medium much lately, outside of dancing around my house. I’m hoping to get back into it in the near future. Being a musician, I feel that it is so important to have a connection with your body and with movement. To me, dance is the visual representation of music.


3. If you could learn any other arts medium, what would it be? Why?

I would actually like to learn as many as I can. I have really enjoyed exploring visual arts more since I’ve been with Mono Arts Council. I am getting better at painting with acrylics and even a little watercolor. The two areas I would like to focus on in the near future are learning to play the cello and learning how to work with clay. I’ve always loved the low and full sound a bowed cello can make and learning ceramics was something that everyone around me seemed to do but for some reason I never had the opportunity growing up. I love working with my hands and making things that are functional and beautiful at the same time.

4. What is your favorite part of your job as Executive Director?

I love watching my teaching artists share their skills with our Mono County Students. We have so many talented artists in our community and it is a mutually rewarding experience when these artists share their art with students of all ages. The artists love the connection they share with the students and being able to give back to the community.

I also really enjoy learning about the artists that we work with, both the teaching artists and the gallery and festival artists.

5. Why do you think the arts are so important right now?

We need a way to process what we have been going through this past year during the pandemic. While getting outside, getting some fresh air, and turns on the mountain are a great way to release stress, taking time to create can help process some of the feelings. I know for myself, when things got really sad or overwhelming this past year, when I focused on knitting or making music, or even an Art & Wine class, I always felt better after. No, the arts won’t end the pandemic or solve all of the world’s problems, but they give us a way to express how we feel about these things and share those feelings (if we choose to) with others in a beautiful and meaningful way.