Creative Life in the Gateway Arts District
Meet Goldie Patrick. Patrick’s website defines her in large pink letters as: poet | playwright | performer | educator. This Mount Rainier Artist Lofts resident recent founded FRESHH Inc Theatre Company, committed to celebrating and cultivating the voices of Black Women and girls in theatre. Click here to learn more about the company online. Patrick’s busy schedule allowed us to catch up with her and learn about her journey to discovering theater and what is means to be a Black Woman.
How did you discover the medium you currently work in?
When I was 7 years old, several of my teachers considered my talkative ways disruptive and expressed concern to my parents; however, one teacher, Mrs. Wesley, saw this as an opportunity to engage me in something creative, and put me in the drama club. Soon after, I fell in love with theatre and have been studying it and performing since. It’s also what set the foundation for my love of theatre education and youth development. Theatre is the opportunity to use body, voice, and mind to explore the unexplored and present resolution and reality to the world. For me, it’s about creating life as it could be by examining how it is.
How do you define “artist”?
I think life is art, so many of us that live life fully are artists. I think there are so many ways to be an artist. I define myself as an artist because my purpose is rooted in creating; creating art, creating opportunity, creating love, creating possibility, creating life.
How did you discover the Gateway Arts District?
I don’t remember exactly when or how I discovered the Gateway Arts District, but I swear I feel like I rediscover it each day. I find something new, or an event, or business that makes me look at my community in a new way all the time.
If you could give your younger self a piece of advice about being an artist, what would it be?
I would advise my younger self to take all of life and put it in your art. Don’t avoid the painful and the messy. Don’t try to make it neat, because sometimes art at its best is completely unplanned and unconventional. I would also tell my younger self to make no apologies for being different, for all the things that make me different will one day make me bold and brave. I would also reassure her, that despite what anyone may ever tell her, being an artist is a real job. Being an artist is as significant in this world as being a doctor, we are healers. Being an artist is as valuable as being a judge or police officer, we often are the keepers of culture and history. That though our society may have not figured out yet how to compensate us monetarily for the work we do in the world, those who are transformed by our work become a great reflection of the value of our work.
What drives you?
I am driven by time. The drive for my work is largely influenced by both past and future and very little by present. I am constantly working to honor and give thanks to those who have paved the path I walk. I think of the sacrifice of those who did the work so that I would be able to, and that humility inspires me to do the same for those after me. The girls in my hip-hop theatre ensemble, The Griot Girls drive the hell out of me. They are why I have to create a platform for Black women and girls to create and experience theatre. I see the powerful impact theatre has had on them and I know they are fully capable to take this world by storm, given the space to, so I make space for them.
What is your greatest challenge as an artist?
I am a Black Woman. Being a Black woman means I have this magic, I have this resilience, this fire that has been a divine blessing. However, in the world we live in, that means I am doubly plagued with both sexism and racism. I am often fighting to get to the door before I can even knock it down. This challenge has not stopped me and I don’t think it ever will, however the challenges it creates for me are constantly being used as opportunities to turn challenge into muscle, and conquer the systems that oppress me and others.
What are you working on right now?
I am preparing to celebrate women in the month of March and to do so through my theatre company, FRESHH Inc Theatre Company. We have a month full of shows that tell important stories, ask provocative questions, and celebrate the power of the woman. First on the March line-up is a photo exhibit and poetry in performance named, “Body Language”. It’s a really intimate look at body image and intimacy. I am working with photographer, David L. McDuffie to tell the story. It will be a one night only experience on March 4th at 9pm at The Atlas Performing Arts Center as a part of the Intersection Arts Festival.
Want to be featured on this blog? Grab your favorite refreshment and sit down for out interview by clicking here.