Youpa Stein’s early years shaped her. Her mother loves water and anytime they traveled past a lake or a stream in the summer, she would stop so they could jump in. Growing up, she lived in National Forests, the Tongass in Alaska and the Kootenai in Montana, where her father was a forest ranger. On hikes, she and her siblings would scramble behind her dad’s fast paced march through the trees. When she was ten years old, she started to walk in the woods by herself. She feels a sense of being home when she is with water and trees.
The next forty-seven years of her life included receiving a BFA in Acting and Directing (University of Montana) and an MA in Psychology and Drama Therapy (California Institute of Integral Studies, S.F., CA). She taught, performed, directed plays and explored sculpture and writing. She was a member of the Montana Arts Council from 2005-2015. In 1993, she co-founded the non-profit organization Living Art of Montana and for the next twenty-three years, she served Living Art’s mission to use the arts and nature to support healing through many different roles. In June 2016, she transitioned from her work as Program Director at Living Art of Montana to pursue making art full-time. Her mission now is to create work expressing uncommon views of natural forms to illuminate and revitalize our connection to the earth. She currently lives with her family on a forested hillside next to tribal forest land on the Flathead Reservation in northwest Montana