Yura Sapi and Kai Ramey at the Decolonize Unconference in 2019


Viviana Vargas, “Yura Sapi” (they) is a being of Earth, a multi-disciplinary artist, creative activist, arts manager, educator, facilitator, nonprofit entrepreneur, and energy worker at the intersections of the arts, healing and social justice. Yura is honored to build racial, social and climate justice worldwide with U.S. nonprofit LiberArte Inc. serving as its co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. Under LiberArte’s scope of programming, Yura creates liberated spaces that uplift, heal, and transform with Advancing Arts Forward, farms with AfroIndigenous food sovereignty program Protectores de la Tierra, and curates Balistikal, an LGBITQ+ healing and arts event space centering individuals and causes across Latin America. Yura hosts and produces the Building Our Own Tables weekly podcast on HowlRound which spotlights BIPOC artists and creative activists who create autonomous programs and organizations. Yura offers racial, gender and disability DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) consulting as part of the Melanin Collective, hosts and consults for in person and online workshops, university classes, gatherings, discussions, and resource sharings across the country and worldwide.

Yura extends beyond borders and prioritizes anti-racism and decolonization for our globally just futures.

Yura is of Indigenous Kichwa descent and holds Ecuadorian and Colombian citizenship with a lifelong connection to their birthplace on Manahatta island, Lenapehoking. They studied theatre arts at Boston University giving them tools of embodiment and healing practices applied to art making. They then studied arts management at CUNY Brooklyn College to find their place as an independent creator and producer. They trained with artEquity to be a racial and social justice facilitator and with the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in their Innovative Cultural Advocacy fellowship as a cultural equity emerging leader. They are always learning and hold immense gratitude for healing practitioners, artists, activists, fundraisers, farmers, ancestors, and guides who help them on their path.

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Past Events

“A Conversation with Yura Sapi” – August 2, 2022

As part of the Bandung 2022 Residency, A4 and MoCADA presented a conversation with Yura Sapi. They shared about their work at the intersection of arts, social justice, and healing.

“Holding Institutions Accountable” – April 23, 2022

More and more theatre companies and educational institutions are issuing statements of solidarity, promising that they are doing the work to become anti-racist. But how do we, the next generation of theatre-makers, hold these institutions accountable to their words? Social justice work is intersectional, so how do we ensure that these companies and schools are investing in all aspects of justice practices, including racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, income justice, body positivity & neutrality, accessibility for disabilities, and more? Moreover, when institutions make mistakes, how do we hold them responsible for their actions? Panelists will share strategies to help young advocates like ourselves continue to unpack ingrained systems of oppression that are embedded in personal belief systems and the organizational structures of the theatre industry and education system.

Discussing their experiences holding Broadway, regional theatres, and schools such as Juilliard and Boston University’s School of Theatre accountable will be Tony award-winner, nine-time Broadway actress, and acclaimed activist Tonya Pinkins (she/her); ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Member, accessibility consultant, theatre-maker, and deaf rights advocate Richard Costes (he/him); MFA Juilliard student and activist Marion Grey (she/her); and Advancing Arts Forward & Building Our Own Tables Founder Yura Sapi (they/them).

“Self-Care = Self-Love Workshop: Manifesting Meditation” – Oct 7, 2020

Join The SoSu Series this Wednesday, October 7th for a special episode dedicated to self love and self care. The episode offers short guided sessions in:
    •    Self Love Mindfulness Breathing led by Carol King
    •    Jar of Destiny led by Maya Williams
    •    Self Love = Self Care Meditation led by Viviana Vargas “Yura Sapi”
    •    Scripting for Manifestation led by Billie Krishawn

“MINKA Vision with Yura Sapi” – Aug 16, 2020

An interview with Tricia from MINKA vision about changing the world by working with others to create liberated spaces that uplift marginalized voices, experiences and storytelling.

“The Future of Crowdfunding” – March 1, 2019

Inspired from a conversation with The Movement Theatre Company after their historic #25kin25days campaign for Aleshea Harris’ What To Send Up When It Goes Down, Advancing Arts Forward has teamed up with HowlRound Theatre Commons for a panel on the future crowdfunding in the theatre. The panel includes a staff member who works with arts projects at Kickstarter and theatre artists/producers who crowdfund using other platforms such Drip and Patreon. With a panel of theatremakers of color, we will also be holding space to discuss new opportunities that crowdfunding may offer along with what it means to be fundraising for the arts as a person of color.

    •    Jessica Massart, Senior Performance Lead at Kickstarter
    •    Eric Lockley and Deadria Harrington, Producing Artistic Leadership Team Members at The Movement Theatre Company, who crowdfund using Kickstarter
    •    Kit Yan of Kit Yan & Melissa Li, Co-Creators of Interstate, who crowdfund using Drip
    •    Paul S. Flores of We Have Iré crowdfunding using Patreon
    •    (Moderator) Viviana “Yura Sapi” Vargas Salvatierra, Founder of Advancing Arts Forward, a moment to advance equity, inclusion, and justice through the arts.