ArtsForce Asks: Kat Martinez, Murray City Council Member and School of Dance Alum

February 03 2020
Laurie Ann Larson and Kat Martinez Laurie Ann Larson and Kat Martinez

By Laurie Ann Larson 

Hello College of Fine Arts! Last month I had the opportunity to grab coffee with U of U School of Dance alumna Kat Martinez and ask her some questions about her life and career. Since graduation, Kat has launched into an impressive array of political, educational, and artistic involvements in Utah. She has served on the Murray Arts Advisory Board and was recently elected to the Murray City Council. Kat also has an extensive record of volunteer work all over the Salt Lake City area. Kat is particularly interested ADA accessibility, arts access, childcare, and education. 

Since I am a senior approaching graduation, I wanted to ask Kat about her transition out of college and see if she could offer me any advice. Kat explained that the transition out of college wasn’t straightforward for her.


“I had felt funneled down this path of professional dance, and for a while I didn’t know I could do something else,” she said. “I started to realize this might not be how I do the most good -- both for myself and my community."


While it was only a year between graduation and her first teaching position, she told me she did a lot of ‘sampling’ in that time in between. She said, “It’s okay to try things and then move on.” This is how she has carved out a space for herself where she is able to do all the things that make her life feel full. She also told me it was important to be really honest with herself about what she wanted out of life.  She explained how important it is to acknowledge your own needs. “I always knew I wanted kids,” she admited.

“Do you need a stable 9 to 5 job? Are you okay working on contract? Do you want to be able to travel at the drop of a hat?” The demands of creative careers can look different from other professions, Kat explained.

On her transition into policy work, Kat noted:  “It’s important to know that your skills as an artist are important in other areas. It took me a while to realize my value. We need to be comfortable taking up spaces on committees and councils even if it’s not directly related to the arts.”

I’ll leave you with Kats parting advice: “The cool thing about life is that there are so many ways to do it right.” 


A few ArtsForce takeaways:

  • Give yourself permission to fail and change your mind.

  • Be honest with yourself about your priorities.

  • Think about where your passions meet a need, and how you can do good for yourself and others.

  • Know that your skills as an artist are important in other areas.

Thanks so much for reading, I hope that you will keep Kat’s advice in mind as you make your way in the world. 
Stay tuned for more helpful tips from professionals that we will be interviewing in the next couple of months!

And don't forget to RSVP for the upcoming ArtsForce Networking Event. 
March 7th, 2020
10:00AM - 1:00PM
Gould Auditorium at Marriot Library

If you are interested or want to learn more about ArtsForce, join here.  

Author Laurie Anne Larson is a Film and Media Arts major with an emphasis in Animation and a minor in Sculpture. She is an Emerging Leaders Intern at ArtsForce. ArtsForce is a student-led organization dedicated to articulating the value of your arts degree and helping you transition from college to the workforce.