Blog: 2022 Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift Recipient for Overtures: Julie Pesak
Through Overtures, Julie realized that “everyone has a story and perspective worth telling.”
After the application and selection process, Julie was chosen as the 2022 recipient of the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift recipient for Overtures. The Gift of $2,500 is awarded to one participant each year for demonstrating excellence in their work and is to be used for educational purposes. A panel reviews applications to evaluate the applicants on the following criteria: growth, work ethic, contribution and future planning.
What Overtures Taught Julie
Julie shared that Overtures showed her how to “stop giving up.” The faculty truly helped her grow during the two-week intensive program—after beginning the program on day one thinking “imposter syndrome has infected my whole mind, body, and soul.”
Matthew Gardiner, Nova Y. Payton, and Holly Twyford—among others—provided valuable training and guidance to help Julie gain confidence and determination.
Matthew oversees the Overtures Showcase culminating performance and works with each student during the program; he helped Julie realize that “musical theatre is all about commitment—to the circumstances, the artistry and to the choices I make on stage.” During voice training, Nova taught Julie the value of believing in oneself during a performance, leading to a self-described “turning point” for Julie. Holly Twyford’s acting classes helped Julie realize the “value of being present in the moment—everything you do onstage has value and meaning deeper than ordinary life and to confront the given circumstances of the scene.”
“Matthew, Nova, and Holly—three inspirational individuals—gave me the sustenance I needed to grow and start to learn to tell my story,” shared Julie.
As a rising senior at Catholic University, Julie looks forward to bringing her “new sense of self and emphasis on storytelling” to school as the year begins. She shared that “Overtures has shown me that although directing and artistic directing are career goals for me, one of my main goals is to perform because the opportunity to tell stories is worth the fear and emotional vulnerability. I have the Overtures team to thank for teaching me this invaluable lesson.”
Julie can’t wait to return to college and focus on “telling stories in a way that feels honest and truthful. I want to commit to my work in a braver way than I have up until now.”
The Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift will help Julie seek acting training in the near future; during Overtures, she realized that there is a “significant gap in my acting training that has contributed to my lack of self-confidence and wariness in committing to the storytelling. This is just the first step, and I know that my path to opening myself up will not be easy—there will be a lot of discomfort and it will be necessary to confront who I am and learn which stories I am meant to tell.”
Julie’s final thoughts Overtures
“I don’t know what my story will ultimately be, but Overtures has helped me start my journey on finding the stories I’m meant to tell and becoming the performer I’m meant to be. To put it simply, I love performing. I intend on pursuing a career in performance, directing, and possibly teaching and arts management. I want to spend the rest of my life telling stories, shaping stories, teaching others how to tell stories, and supporting the art of storytelling through theatre in anyway I can.”
From Overtures Leadership
Matthew Gardiner, Artistic Director
“Julie is a talented young performer with a bright future ahead. The Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift will help Julie continue to pursue her training and continue to grow as an artist.”
David Zobell, Director of Education
“Julie showed tremendous growth during her time at Overtures, and we’re so grateful to be able to support further growth and training as she moves toward becoming a musical theatre professional.”
About the Andrew A. Isen Young Artist Gift