One of the great moments in AMOCAT Awards history occurred in November when AMOCAT recipient and T-town creative force Stella Haioulanil recited her freshly minted (as in just that morning) poem, I Am A Cat, during the awards ceremony at the Museum of Glass. In a feline fedora, with soft, cat-like cadences, she began:
I Am a Cat
One day not long ago, the City called and told me I was a cat. I said, I’m a cat?
Yeah! That’s a fact!
Amongst other things I Am a Cat!
I’m a Catalyst in motion….
Move’n, strive’n, stroll’n, around the Tac!
Hilltopia to be exact!
And in the City of Destiny is where I’m at.
I Am a Cat!
I Am a Catalyst in motion….[click here to hear the complete poem]
Haioulanil is indeed a pivotal cat on the local art scene – one deserving of the Tacoma Arts Commission’s coveted accolade in the category of Community Outreach by an Artist. Equipped with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Evergreen State College-Tacoma, and two Associate degrees from Tacoma Community College, Haioulanil uses her communication skills to heighten awareness in the areas of community mobilization, conflict resolution and social justice through the medium of cultural enrichment events.
Haioulanil is CEO and founder of Free Ya Mind, Inc., working to promote public discussion between businesses, organizations and urban communities through the literary and visual arts. She has partnered with the Tacoma Art Museum and Washington State History Museum to provide educational outreach to underserved populations. Through partnerships in the Tacoma and Clover Park school districts, she has administered workshops that teach youth leadership, the gift of artistic expression, and the ability to think critically and develop effective communication skills. A filmmaker, writer and radio host/DJ, this powerhouse has also worked with some of the most celebrated spoken-word talent on the globe.
Which brings us back to poetry…On the last Friday of each month you can find Haioulanil at the Bostwick Tully’s in downtown Tacoma hosting the Free Ya Mind Poetry, Spoken Word and Open Mic Show. At 10 years old, it is one of Tacoma’s most famous and longest standing poetry (and stand-up music) shows.
A Cat-a-lyst in fact, proud of the feline in me, encouraging others to Be.
And dedicated to setting all cats free!
Yeah, AMOCAT that’s me!
Enjoy past stories in our 10-in-10 Series:
10 in 10: 2006 the Broadway Center Shines Anew
10 in 10: 2001 The Birth of Tacoma’s Very Own Volcano
10 in 10: 2005 The AMOCAT Awards
10 in 10: The F.W. Woolworth Building
10 in 10: 2001 Tacoma Gets Smart (UW-Tacoma and SOTA)