Viviana “Yura Sapi” Vargas Salvatierra (they/them/their), is a non-binary being of Earth, a multi-disciplinary creator and facilitator at the intersections of the arts, healing and social justice. Yura is a visionary leader, creative activist, and interdisciplinary artist who works to promote anti-racism and decolonization for our globally just future. As co-founder and CEO of LiberArte Inc., Yura builds racial, social, and climate justice worldwide by empowering artists and creative activists with networking, educational programs, and direct aid. After years in the corporate diversity world, Yura Sapi extends beyond borders working with rural and urban Black, Indigenous, and LGBTIQ+ communities across Latin America and virtually across the world.
Yura creates liberated spaces described as “centering, calming, and helpful” by participants. One of Yura’s most significant contributions is the Building Our Own Tables Podcast. This weekly podcast, featured on HowlRound, spotlights BIPOC founders who create autonomous programs and organizations, promoting collective liberation at the intersections of gender, sexuality, disability, and other marginalized identities. Yura holds degrees from Boston University, BFA Theatre Arts and CUNY Brooklyn College, MFA Performing Arts Management. They studied theatre arts at Boston University and arts management at CUNY Brooklyn College, finding their place as an independent producer.
Yura’s commitment to creating liberated spaces that uplift, heal, and transform is evident in their work with LiberArte’s programming. They farm with AfroIndigenous food sovereignty program Protectores de la Tierra, and curate Balistikal, an LGBTQ+ healing and arts space centering individuals and causes across Latin America. They offer racial, gender, and disability DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) consulting as part of the Melanin Collective and facilitate in-person and online workshops, university classes, gatherings, discussions, resource sharings, and coaching programs across the country and worldwide.
Yura is of Indigenous Runashimi (Kichwa) descent with Ecuadorian and Colombian citizenship along with a lifelong connection to their birthplace on Manahatta island, Lenapehoking.
As 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 brings a unique perspective to their work.
They trained with and continue to learn from artEquity and MINKA Brooklyn to be to be a racial and social justice facilitator in the arts and healing industries. They participated in the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute‘s Innovative Cultural Advocacy fellowship and The Melanin Collective’s POC Entrepreneurial Bootcamp as a cultural equity emerging leader. They are a part of ACRE, Artists Co-Creating Real Equity, an affinity space of the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond’s Undoing Racism Training. Yura is always learning and holds immense gratitude for healing practitioners, artists, activists, fundraisers, farmers, ancestors, and guides who help them on their path.
As a creative leader, Yura offers a powerful vision of what a truly just and equitable world can look like, and their work is making that vision a reality, one step at a time.
Yura has shared stages, conference rooms, virtual classrooms and beyond at inspiring events ranging from Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater to Brown University’s Theatre Program to Temazcal at Mumbet’s Freedom Farm. When not visiting incredible satellite spots of liberation around the world, Yura shares from their recording studio on Embera native land in Nuquí, Chocó on the afroindigenous pacific coast of Colombia, where they host artist residencies and learn from the wisdom of nature.
Connect more with Yura on Instagram, LinkedIn or yurasapi.com.
August 2021, Live Performance Installation
Rites of Passage Project, Curator of Queer Origins
December 2019, Self-Published Poetry Book
Love Poems for Healing
November 2019, Poetry Performance
Civic Salon: Culture Shift at Joe’s Pub, Public Theater
December 2018, Self-Published Poetry Book
Poems of a Quest for Liberation from the Cages of
2017 – Amazon Prime Video, “The Coeds: Season 2” – Film/TV
2016 – Amazon Prime Video, “The Coeds: Season 1” – Film/TV
“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.
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.
Degrees, Trainings & Certifications
- Earth Evolution Reiki – Minka Brooklyn – Issued May 2023
- Reiki I + II – Minka Brooklyn – Issued Apr 2023
- National Facilitator Training – artEquity – Issued Oct 2018
- POC Entrepreneurial Bootcamp – The Melanin Collective – Issued Aug 2018
- Brooklyn College – Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Performing Arts Management – Issued May 2018
- Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship – Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) – Issued Jan 2017
- Boston University – Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Theatre Arts – Issued June 2016
- London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art – Shakespeare Acting Certification – Issued May 2015
Leadership & Awards
Brooklyn College 30 Under 30 Alumni
Recognition – 2022
Showcasing a cohort of outstanding alumni who
make their mark on the world and shape the future.
Judge, American Theatre Critics Association:
Edward Medina Prize – 2022
Inaugural award for Excellence in Cultural Criticism
for under-represented groups.
Grant Recipient, National Association of
Latino Arts and Cultures: Actos de Confianza – 2021
Steering Committee Member, Latinx
Theatre Commons – January 2017 – March 2020
“Resource Generation” fundraising sub-committee
Grant Recipient, Persephone Gift – 2020
Grant Recipient, artEquity Artist + Activist
Community Fund – 2020
Judge Panelist, Network of Ensemble
Theaters Exchange Grant Program – 2020
LiberArte, P.O. Box 721155
Jackson Heights, NY 11372-9997