The Page is a Stage

Julia Cost (M.F.A. in Dance, '11) with her book's inspirations

Alumna Julia Cost publishes an illustrated children’s book that drew upon her UCI dance education

Julia Cost (M.F.A. in Dance, '11) said there are parallels between her UCI studies and the picture book she just published, The Girl and the Boat.

“The book is wordless,” said Cost, raised and based on Maui, “so like a dance, viewers read the story through the body language and expressions of the figures I painted. It works as a children’s book or as an art book for adults and people of all ages have been discovering their own stories in it.”

The Girl and the Boat, six years in the making, is filled with 30 richly detailed oil paintings that tell a tale of friendship, love, letting go, creativity, and imagination through a girl and a wooden boat she discovers in a field of wildflowers.

“This was the biggest project of my life,” said Cost, who is also a painter and textile designer, “and creating it drew upon my dance education. At UCI, in collaboration with the incredible dancers I got to work with, I aimed to put real, meaningful, and personal human experiences onstage. In a similar quest for realism, to create my book, I worked with child models, sewed them costumes, built sets and props, and staged and painted every scene from life."

Pages from Julia Costs new book, The Girl and the Boat. (Photo courtesy of Julia Cost)

Attending UCI was immeasurably influential on my life.

Art runs in Cost’s family. Her father, Curtis Wilson Cost, is one of the most acclaimed realistic landscape painters in Hawai'i, and her mother, Jill, is the family gallery manager and once had a batik business sewing wares with her original fabrics.

“Attending UCI was immeasurably influential on my life,” Cost said. “The M.F.A. program gave me access to many talented colleagues and professors who taught me so much. I got to experience how composers, lighting designers, scenic designers, and film editors think and create. I wore many of those hats in the making of this book.”

Added Cost: “The cherry on top of my time at UCI was the intensive, professional, and interdisciplinary experience of creating an evening-length choreographic concert in one of the gorgeous theaters on campus for my thesis. I will always treasure that opportunity and it developed my skills for my interdisciplinary art career today.”

Pages from Julia Costs new book, The Girl and the Boat. (Photo courtesy of Julia Cost)

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CONNECT - Spring 2024

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