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By: Sabrina Bovay, Board Chair

2016 has been a year of change for me as I continued to volunteer for Mirror Image Arts. I joined the Board of Directors in late 2015 and just as I was getting accustomed to the group, I decided to take a sabbatical with my husband to go travel the world. I kept in touch with Meghann and Andrea on what was happening. And there was A LOT happening:

Personnel Changes – We hired a Program and Partnerships Director! Our second employee was approved; and we were super excited to welcome Meghann Henry to the new position. While there was a learning curve in taking on another employee and defining roles, so much of the groundwork had been done in advance by our Executive Director, Andrea, that the transition went smoothly.

 

Board Members, New and Old – No, I’m not referencing ages! Our board went through some shifts this year as well, as we welcomed new faces and said goodbye to members who played integral roles in getting MIA to where it is today. Jamey Rabold and Marc Stith were part of MIA since our reorganization in 2013, adding insight, expertise, and passion to our board. We can’t thank them enough for their contributions! The new faces that came on included Joe Hickman and Grace Spivak. They jumped right into the work, helping us identify more effective online relationship manager and accounting systems, working diligently on networking and evangelizing, and setting up a Finance Committee and internal infrastructure.

Programs, Programs, Programs – It has been quite a year for our programming department. Your Voice Matters, our bullying prevention programming continues to see results in the multiple schools it serves. I got to fully appreciate what our program does for young people by experiencing two different sessions and seeing the changes that occurred with the kids in each. I also got to walk like a duck and play really silly games during the program, which I enjoyed since I don’t get to do that very often!

I also participated in a workshop with Center For Performance and Civic Practice (CPCP). CPCP and MIA partnered to build our Speak Up, Speak Out! project in which we will work with the Lincoln Park neighborhood in Denver. Going to the workshop, was eye opening for me in many ways: 1) seeing the problems facing the neighborhood ‘in real life’ – like gangs, gentrification, and safety issues; 2) learning more about MIA’s Teaching Artists and their aspirations; and 3) really understanding what drives me to be a part of this organization and what I can learn from the work we are doing. I encourage all of you to reach out to me or anyone else involved in the organization to find out more about Speak Up, Speak Out!.

The business of running a non-profit business – It’s a lot of work! I’m not entirely sure how Andrea pulls it off, but she does it with grace, passion and efficiency! Being part of the leadership team has helped me learn the inner workings of what it takes to keep the lights on. And this year, we were excited to rent shared office space from Joining Vision and Action (JVA), so we actually accounted for a physical location to keep lights on for! Having a working environment at JVA has allowed us to connect with other non-profits as well as have a home base of operations for our employees and Teaching Artists. A big thanks to JVA for supporting us and our work!

I’m excited to see what 2017 brings to our organization! Our leadership team has big goals for the upcoming year, including the addition of a few more incredibly talented people to our board, another successful I Got Your Back! gala, extending our bullying prevention program, and the joy of seeing the outcomes from Speak Up Speak Out!.

As we go into the new year, I hope you get to enjoy the holidays with loved ones and friends!

Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word. – Goran Persson

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By: Ally Fleckenstein, Teaching Artist

Andrea, Meghann and I met before my 3 month travel abroad. We discussed sharing anything that served as inspiration to me during my incredibly journey. They also challenged me to discover what I believe my aesthetic is as an artist. I loved their challenge because I have never thought about defining my creative aesthetic before.

After spending time in so many beautiful countries including Thailand and the Philippines, I’ve been inspired in so many ways…it didn’t take long for me to discover what my aesthetic is:

– When elements of nature are coexisting with unnatural elements organically and freely, it creates something very stimulating for me. For example: a vine growing on a building. But deeper than this, but that concept.

– I also find it pleasing when the colors are contrasting. They don’t have to be, but it takes my stimulation and joy even further.

I connect this aesthetic with my work and with my way of living…the constant need I have for our society and my personal relationships to coexist even if we aren’t naturally connected. Sometimes it takes a little bit of work and contrast to pull different people together but ultimately their relationship and connection will naturally bond even if it is contrasting. In fact, I find it more pleasurable to make the contrast and differences work rather than assuming cultures or individuals need to connect because they may appear the same. Like the vine growing on a building, the two can become necessities to each other. They have become dependent on one another. Was the building built to sustain living plant life? Was the vine put here to find a building to grow on? But they’ve allowed this to happen, and they’ve created unity within each other allowing them both to freely and successfully exist and sustain each other.

If we allow one another to be open minded to the beauty of coexisting we will allow empathy and therefore allow a more beautiful and sustainable lifestyle.

Much love my beautiful souls. See you soon! I have thoroughly enjoyed my travels AND also can’t wait to get back to my work with MIA!

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