Yura Sapi and Kai Ramey at the Decolonize Unconference in 2019
Yura Sapi (they/them) a.k.a. Viviana Vargas is a Kichwa indigenous and mestiza, Ecuadorian and Colombian gender non-binary being of this mother Earth. Their work extends beyond U.S. borders prioritizing anti-racism and decolonization for our collective liberation.
Yura creates liberated spaces that uplift, heal, and encourage us to change the world with Advancing Arts Forward, where they offer classes, workshops and educational tools along with anti-racist consulting with the Melanin Collective. They host and produce the podcast turned book “Building Our Own Tables,” with HowlRound Theatre Commons which centers creators of color and their solutions for working together that do not replicate white supremacy culture.
Yura holds a BFA in Theatre Arts from Boston University and an MFA in Performing Arts Management from CUNY Brooklyn College, and they most value their education from the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellowship and artEquity’s National Facilitator Training.
Yura shares from Embera native land in Nuquí, Chocó on the afroindigenous pacific coast of Colombia where they farm with community group Protectores de la Tierra. In Nuquí, Yura is also part of community tourism project Casa Yow Surf and Tambacum traditional music group. They are a co-creator of Balistikal, an LGBTIQ+ healing and arts space serving community across Latin America. Connect more with Yura Sapi on their Instagram or LinkedIn. Come visit them to help farm, with social media or other exchanges.
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.