Caitlin Strokosch is the President & CEO of National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network, a national artist support organization based in New Orleans. She has been in the position for almost a year, after a decade serving the Alliance of Artists Communities. In the midst of celebrating Mardi Gras, Caitlin talks about her abiding love for activists and artists, places by water and cellos.
What is your idea of perfect happiness? Happiness is a journey, not a destination, but I guess I’d say for me it’s the right balance of being stirred up and at peace.
What is your greatest fear? Falling to my death from a high balcony with a loose railing.
Which level of government is most pertinent in your occupation? As a national organization, we focus mostly on the federal government.
What living person do you most admire? Malala Yousafzai
What historical figure do you most admire? Hard to choose: Ruby Bridges and her parents, Jimmy Carter, Marie Curie, Michelle Obama
What is your greatest extravagance? I will gladly pick up the bill for dinner if someone else will decide what I’m having and order for me.
What is your greatest achievement? Overcoming crippling self-doubts enough to be a reasonably functional human.
What is the most overrated virtue? Good intentions. “Do or do not; there is no try.”
What quality do you most like in a man? Curiosity.
What quality do you most like in a woman? Emotional intelligence.
What words or phrases do you overuse? Any derivation of the word “fuck.”
What or who was the greatest love of your life? As far as “who,” I have someone extraordinary in my life. As far as “what,” the greatest love of my life is this 20-year career in the arts that challenges, inspires, and nourishes me more than I ever could have imagined. Corny but true!
When or where were/are you happiest? Water, sun, and the company of one or more easy-hearted lovely people works like magic.
What talent would you most like to have? Learning other languages easily.
What is your most marked characteristic? Professionally
Where would you most like to live? In a progressive city in Northern Europe, near water, where I can hop on a train and easily experience so many other great places.
What do you most value in your friends? Being smart enough to be cynical but joyful enough to resist it.
What profession other than your own would you like to try? Nonfiction writing.
Who are you currently following in (pick any or all):
Books: Nick Harkaway, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Maria Dahvana Headley, Rebecca Solnit
Visual: Mickalene Thomas, Marilyn Minter, Paul Rucker (who is also a musician)
Music: As a musician I am all over the place — today it’s Otis Redding, Giorgio Moroder, Lykke Li…
Theater: I saw Silvero Pereira‘s “BR Trans” in Brazil recently and it was incredible
Other: multidisciplinary and activist artists like Vanessa German, Mel Chin, Robert Farid Karimi
Who is your hero/heroine in fiction? The dad in “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
What is your greatest regret? That I didn’t use college as an opportunity to go farther away, live abroad, or fall in love with another city.
What excites you in your own creative practice? Quirky, curious collaborators who challenge me and appreciate my goofiness.
Where is your “third place”? Wherever my cello is.
What is your motto? You’re never too busy to say thank you.