Katie Avila Loughmiller is an interdisciplinary social practice artist, writer, educator, curator and activist based in Milwaukee, WI. Avila Loughmiller received her BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University and completed her MFA in the Public Practice program at Otis College of Art & Design. In 2017, Avila Loughmiller co-founded LUNA (Latinas Unidas en las Artes) an artist collective turned business that supports and equitably pays Latinx artists. Avila Loughmiller is currently the Storyteller & Content Creator at Colorful Connections, a diversity, equity and inclusion firm; a Lecturer in the Theatre Department at UWM; the Coordinating Producer on the documentary film Out of the Picture; and a co-host of the biweekly comedy radio show/podcast, “We Heard We’re Funny” on Riverwest Radio.
Her individual artistic practice has allowed her to perform and participate in artist residencies across the country, most notably at Santa Fe Art Institute, Atlantic Center for the Arts and Vermont Studio Center. Avila Loughmiller won one of Milwaukee Magazine’s Unity Awards and the City of Milwaukee’s Vel R. Phillips Trailblazer Award. She was named a SHEro by Milwaukee Rep and won the top prize for editorial writing at the Milwaukee Press Club.
Mediums: Theatre, film, writing, collage, digital
Favorite Artist Tool: Community-building
Go-to Local Inspiration: My students at UWM, MIAD and Alverno
Mentee Compliment: I appreciate how Maria pays homage to her upbringing and culture in her work, and I love that she’s not afraid to work large.
Fun Fact: I told infamous art critic Jerry Saltz that I thought art criticism was kind of bullshit.
Serious Fact: When I traveled to South Africa, I had the opportunity to write and direct a one-act play with local high school students.
Born in one country and raised in another, my entire life has been a balancing act. I often find myself straddling the line between inclusion and being othered, hungering for belonging while resisting the status quo. My work, too, lives in the in-between – dancing between social sculpture and physical sculpture; performance and visual art; finding humor in experiences that have made me feel awkward, confused, or even pained. I take an interdisciplinary approach to uncover, dissect, and collage my cultural complexity and female identity while deeply immersing myself in community and site-specific work.
Through work as a social practice artist, I dare to take space and create while living in a society that strives to erase my culture and roots, and that pays me 46% less than my white male counterparts. I use storytelling and collaboration to dismantle white supremacy, and create more inclusive and equitable spaces wherever I go.