San Jose, CA
I am a profesional freelance Theatrical Scenic and Costume Designer with 35 years experience designing for Theatre, Opera, Musicals and Dance. I also create many of my costume designs in my own workshop studio. I have worked as a professional cutter for more than 35 years and have taught and worked in the fashion industry as well.
I often work as the production designer, envisioning not only the sets and costumes but also all of the props, wigs and make-up. I find creating every aspect of the stage picture to be very rewarding. It has also given me the opportunity to hone my skills in scenic painting as well is many costume and prop craft areas.
I have taught at the college level for 30 years and have taught children’s art classes for the last 15 years. My children’s art program called The Art Box, explores creativity and media by looking at other artists and through the guise of many core education concepts that include math and language.
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
It was great to be recognized locally for my work, since there aren't really any "award recognitions" in this area, especially for Opera. Financially it allowed me to keep my health insurance for that year and continue freelancing.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
I am still a freelance Costume and Set designer, teaching at local colleges. I had my first show going to Off-Broadway in fall 2014. Go to my website to see my work: http://julieengelbrecht.wix.com/jedesigns
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
Never be afraid to take on a challenge. Creative artistic people have skills, resources and imaginations combined in a way quite unlike most others. Sometimes it takes more traditional types a while to see that.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Arts are poorly funded but the vital nutrients to a well balanced life.