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Notable Women of Austin: Hunerdosse a vibrant addition to Austin

By Carolyn Bogott

American Association of University Women

Sometimes it takes someone who is newer to our community to point out all the cultural assets we have in Austin.

Katie Hunerdosse moved here in 2008. Involvement in theater and visual arts are what excite Katie and she cherishes the opportunities she has in Austin to participate in the arts. For her first two years here, she didn’t try theater. She worked as a paraprofessional at Gerard Academy and as a substitute teacher for Austin Public Schools. Then she was in a production of “Godspell” at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. That was her introduction to the theater community in Austin and she soon was involved in Riverland Theatre and Summerset Theatre. With 16 full productions as an actor to her credit, she has also done many smaller acting projects and has helped on many sets and in the pit orchestra for other productions with these theater groups, as well as with Matchbox Children’s Theatre.

Katie Hunerdosse

“I really love how much theater a town this size offers,” Hunerdosse said.

Katie grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and was very involved in high school and community theater there. She went to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, with the intent of being a theater major, hoping to be a theater critic if she couldn’t make it as an actor. However, she ended up being an art major, with her senior show involving 23 oil portraits.

Her visual art as well as her acting flow from her interest in shared experiences, particularly women’s experiences, both now and in the past. She works in various medias, including pencil, oil, watercolor, printmaking, sidewalk chalk, polymer clay, as well as playdough when she sculpts with her three- year-old son. Her polymer clay jewelry has been sold at different events such as comic conventions and the Austin Artworks Festival.

Katie has a wide circle of friends from her many theater experiences. She points out that people in theater are very open to diversity, accept differences well, and form strong bonds as they work together for a common purpose. She loves that sense of community and how it makes for lasting friendships

A big commitment of time in recent years has been her collaboration with Carmen Tribbet as the illustrator of Carmen’s children’s books about Carmen’s dog. The first book, “The Monster Dog: A Little Dog with a Big Attitude,” is in print and available at Sweet Reads and the second, “The Monster Dog: A Little Dog with a Big Heart Learns About Alzheimer’s Disease,” is in the editing stage.  Katie painted all the watercolor illustrations for these two books, scanned them, and formatted them with the text — a laborious process. She has worked very hard to honor the author’s vision of the books.

Katie’s drawing skills help in her continuing work as a substitute teacher. Drawing on the white board is a great way to get the attention of the class! Her acting and improvisation skills also enhance her teaching as they help her to be flexible and imaginative.

Katie feels so fortunate to be living in Austin, where she can pursue her growth in theater and art. She also understands that she is very privileged to have the resources to do these things. She says her husband’s strong support of her work makes all her activities possible.

Thank you , Katie, for reminding us of the vibrancy and possibilities of the cultural assets in our community.