About the artist:
As a professional touring musician and storyteller, songsmith, author, artist, and educator for half a lifetime, Chris Kastle has performed throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe, and New Zealand. As a recording artist, and part of a duo, she has released 12 critically acclaimed CDs and a DVD and recently, three solo CDs of music and spoken word.
As an educator, she worked as the Director of Education at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, an instructor for the Inland Seas Education Association, a Visiting Professor at Governors State University, has done a myriad of educational residencies, and is currently on the faculty at the Old Town School of Folk Music, a Teaching Artist for VSAFL (Very Special Arts Florida), and the Community Educator for Friends of A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway.
As an author, she has penned articles for maritime publications and been a contributing author in a maritime history anthology published by Claremont Press. She has many original short stories to her credit and, most recently, was the author/illustrator of a new children’s book, Dolly the Decorator Crab, inspired by her work as a teaching artist for VSAFL.
As a visual artist, Chris has helped students of many ages and abilities to create personal and collaborative artwork such as sculpture, collage, set design, and puppets. Her individual work has been displayed alongside that of her students at the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens and by the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts.
As an arts administrator, advocate, and producer, she is the Executive Director of Common Times, the folk-arts organization that presents the "Chicago Maritime Festival" and the "Chinquapin Folk Music and Storytelling Festival" and is also on the boards of the Florida Storytelling Association (President) and the Tale Tellers of St. Augustine (Past President).
She is a one-time Tall Ship sailor from Chicago who has found a new home in St. Augustine, the nation's oldest port city, and is enjoying the best of the old world and the new!
About the presentations:
The songs and stories of Chris Kastle have been described as "exquisite" and possessing "powerful imagery". Her performances at concerts, festivals, libraries, schools, and camps are a rich blend of original works and those drawn from folk tradition. They captivate, entertain, and transport people of all ages. She presents traditional and original songs using guitar, fiddle, penny whistle, mandolin, and various percussion instruments; her spoken word repertoire includes original, personal, and traditional tales. On occasion, Chris also creates whimsical and endearing puppets for use with younger audiences.
Her school residencies, in-services, workshops, and seminars cover a host of topics including music, songwriting, creative writing, storytelling, performance, production, and puppets. Chris is experienced in working with, and performing for, a wide range of audiences, such as at-risk students, special needs populations, and senior citizens.
Her Artist-in-Residence programs are exemplary, not only because they augment and fulfill a host of educational standards, but also because they give students the chance to work with a professional, practicing artist who can give insight into pursuing the arts as a viable career -- and her teacher in-services have proven to be immediately useful in the classroom.
- VSA Florida Residency Artist Roster
- Community Educator, A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway
- Director of Education, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
- Full-time performer and educator throughout the United States, Europe, and New Zealand as a solo artist and with Tom Kastle
- 3 CDs as a solo artist; 12 critically acclaimed recordings as a duo, including See the Sea: Songs for Younger Sailors (recommended by PARENTS MAGAZINE) and the DVD, The Mermaid and other Sea Songs (recommended by Chicago Parent)
- Contributing Author, From Lumber Hookers to the Hooligan Fleet: A Treasury of Chicago Maritime History, Claremont Press
- Instructor, Inland Seas Education Association
- Community Professor, College of Environmental and Applied Sciences, Governors State University
- Faculty, Old Town School of Folk Music
- Executive Director, Common Times
- Co-recipient of the Lantern Bearer Award, Folk Alliance Region Midwest
- Co-Publisher, Common Times Magazine
M.A.S. Human Ecology, Governor's State University; B.A. Geography/Political Science; minor in Education, University of Illinois
Current Professional and Board Affiliations
National Storytelling Network; Florida Storytelling Association, President; Tale Tellers of St. Augustine, Past President; North Florida Folk Network; Friends of Florida Folk; St. Augustine Songwriters Association; Chicago Storytelling Guild; Chicago Maritime Society, Sustaining Board; Underwater Archeological Society of Chicago
Florida Folk Festival • Mohegan Storytelling and Music Festival • Gamble Rogers Folk Festival • Chicago Public Library Summer Reading Series • The Environmental Education Faire • Chicago Maritime Festival • Theater of the Mind • Spoken Word Café • John G. Shedd Aquarium • Illinois Storytelling Festival (Illinois Showcase) • Storybook Festival • Wild Onion Storytelling Festival • Field Museum of Natural History • National Maritime Museum (New Zealand) • Chicago Historical Society • Uncommon Ground Storyteller Series • Passim's • Shanties Festival (Poland) • Museum of Science & Industry • Fox Valley Folk Festival • Folklore Society of Greater Washington • Workum Shanty Festival (Netherlands) • Philadelphia Folksong Society • Mystic Seaport (Sea Music Festival; Concert Series)
Selected Radio and Television Appearances
"Studs Terkel Show" WBEZ • "The Midnight Special" WFMT • "Folk Festival" WDCB • "848" WBEZ • "Insight" WTMX • "River City Folk" • "The Michael Stock Show" WLRN • "Bound For Glory" • "Gene Shay Show" WHYY • "Absolute Artistry" • "Outdoor Wisconsin" •"Prairie Harvest" • "Wild Chicago" • "Chicago Stories" • "Artbeat Chicago" • "Stage 9" • WBBM News Chicago • WMNF
Selected Honors, Grants, and Juried Rosters
Lantern Bearer Award, Folk Alliance Midwest Region, 2007 • Founders' Award, Shanties '93, Krakow, Poland • Arts-in-Education Rosters in Missouri, Illinois, Delaware, Indiana • ArtsTour, Illinois • Michigan Humanities Council • Chicago Office of Fine Arts-Community Arts Assistance and Neighborhood Arts Programs • Illinois Arts Council-Special Assistance Grant, 1995, 1999, 2005 • Arts International-Festival Travel Grant • VSAFL (Very Special Arts Florida) Teaching Roster
Selected Conference Presentations, Seminars, and Arts Planning
Tale Tellers of St. Augustine Workshop Series: "Principles of Performance" (2013) • Florida StoryCamp: "Storytelling in Verse", "StoryLines Game Pilot" (2012); "Perk It Up With Puppets" (2011)” • Environmental Education Faire, Friends of A1A (Planning Committee 2011) • Festival of Muses (Planning Committee 2012) • Chicago Maritime Festival, since 2003 (Co-Director and Founder) • Chinquapin Folk Music and Storytelling Festival (Co-Artistic Director 1995 - 2009) • Northern Michigan Early Care and Education Conference "Instruments and Their Stories" • Michigan Reading Association, "Building Self Esteem and Cultural Awareness Through Creative Writing and the Folk Process" • Folk Alliance Conference, "Independent Record Production", "Presenter - Performer: Both Sides of the Coin"
List of publications and discography available upon request.