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Over the past year Mirror Image Arts has experienced immense growth in our “Your Voice” series serving more than a 1,000 young people from July 2016-June 2017. This increase in programming, coupled with the addition of our two year civic practice project, “Speak Up, Speak Out!”, spurred the need for us to expand our staff in order to maintain the quality positive youth development and arts programming we are known for in the community.

We are excited to announce that Mirror Image Arts has created a new full-time staff position called the Program Coordinator, and we are even more thrilled to share that Maya Osterman will start in this new position July 1st. This role is crucial to the continued growth of our organization as Maya will spend ⅔ of her time in the field leading programs, and the rest assisting with the administration of programs, fundraising, and marketing.

Maya has grown with Mirror Image Arts over the last two years as a facilitator, a collaborator on program development, and as an event volunteer. Her unique ability to forge relationships with young people, her passion for facilitation and theatre, and her experience as a program administrator make her an exciting addition to our staff.

We look forward to introducing Maya to our donors and volunteers. The support from the community makes all of this work possible, and we look forward to seeing how Maya contributes to our organization as we work together to impact Colorado young people.

More About Maya:

Maya Osterman-Van Grack has been an Applied Theatre practitioner for the last eleven years. She received her BFA in Theatre Performance from the University of Colorado-Boulder. As a facilitator, actor, director, and writer she has worked with numerous theatre companies and universities utilizing and devising theatre as an instructive tool, equipping participants with knowledge, skills, and motivation to engage in real efforts to make personal and societal transformation. Maya is the Founder/Facilitator of Restorative Theatre – a theatre program for incarcerated youth that runs at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden, CO. She also currently serves as the Director of Artistic Programs at Arizona State University’s STIR (Sex Trafficking Intervention and Research) program through the School of Social Work.

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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

Mirror Image Arts is excited to announce that with the assistance of the Colorado Health Foundation Grant, we are able to grow our staff team to include a full-time Programs and Partnerships Director. We are thrilled to share that we have hired Meghann Henry.

Meghann’s most recent work was with the Mizel Arts and Culture Center where she served as their Education Director. Before she and her husband moved to Denver, she was the Director of Education and Outreach at the nationally recognized Coterie Theatre and a Youth Services Librarian for the Kansas City Public Library. We are beyond excited to have Meghann’s vast talent and experience with us as part of our staff team now as we continue to grow our programs and services for the communities we serve. We are so thankful for everything she contributed to the organization in the past as both Board Chair and Program Advisor. Meghann will start full-time October 1, 2016.

Uncomfortable.  Anxious. That was before I even got to the La Alma Center for the Civic Practice Development Workshop! I’m not a theater person and going into a workshop that focused on “Civic Practice” had me a little nervous.  However, all my anxiety was put to rest almost immediately.

With James Hart and Michael Rohd at the helm, the morning started off with great excitement! The day was then spent learning about theater and how it has evolved—information which was all very new to me. My key learning from the morning was the definition of Civic Practice and how we, Mirror Image Arts, will be applying it going forward.

CPCP defines Civic Practice as arts-based partnership work that is developed in service to the needs of a partner organization or agency that does not have an arts-centered mission.

In the afternoon, we spent time in groups, tackling the goals that we had set forth for the Denver Parks & Recreation and Mirror Image Arts as part of the Speak Up, Speak Out program. Some of the goals listed were large, like “Wipe out the gang and drug problem in the neighborhood.” I work in the private sector in business, focusing more specifically on Information Technology. I spend my days sitting behind a computer trying to find the best way to solve a technology problem. Brainstorming with a group of people about “wiping out gang and drug problems” was very uncomfortable. However, after listening to the various ideas our group had, the problem no longer seemed impossible to tackle.  What I learned through participating in this exercise was that, even though I spend my days behind a desk in a completely unrelated world, the gang and drug problem is, at its core, a human problem and a community problem. And I can contribute to being a part of resolving it.

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Discussing how we work

There were several things that struck me at the end of our day. The Teaching Artists at Mirror Image Arts are not only great theater actors, but also great thinkers, offering up amazing ideas as to how they want to use theater to help others.  Secondly, the fact that the Denver Parks & Recreation team has fully bought in and committed to our Speak Up, Speak Out project has been a true gift.  To have such an engaging partnership with this organization will help us develop an even stronger program.

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Finally, I was struck with this exciting belief: In just two years, we will see the La Alma community transformed through theater and hard work!