What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
In 2013 I returned to my hometown of Laramie with a goal to bring fresh new theatre to the community. I applied my professional theatre experience to a production of BRILLIANT TRACES by Cindy Lou Johnson in the historic Gryphon Theatre. That venture was the first step in the life of my non-profit arts organization, Relative Theatrics. Founding a company that produces risky, relevant, real theatre in Laramie and giving back to the community that I hold so dear has filled me with immense gratification. I'm proud to contribute to the growing arts scene in Laramie and look forward to doing so for many years to come.
What is your primary personal development goal/business goal for the next 5 years?
Earlier this year Relative Theatrics became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. This governmental recognition opened many doors for the development of the company. With continued outreach I plan to grow our donor base, develop greater fundraising efforts, and secure more season ticket holders. Taking these actions strengthens the foundation of Relative Theatrics and ensures that the organization will have the finances and support in place for high-quality, professional grade theatrical productions on a continued basis.
What is your biggest philanthropic achievement?
I routinely take part in the Laramie Walk MS and have been honored twice in the top ten individual fundraisers. As a team leader I reach out to friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues, raising funds to fight for a world free of Multiple Sclerosis. The annual event, hosted by the National MS Society, is an opportunity to raise awareness about the disease and support a worthy organization that funds research, advocates for change, facilitates professional education, and provides programs and services that help people with multiple sclerosis and their families nation-wide. Being afflicted with multiple sclerosis myself, I strongly believe in the mission and vision of this organization and am confident in the value and benefit of their work.
What action/event that you've been a part of, that you believe has made the biggest difference in Laramie?Or are you most proud of?
The Wyoming Art Party approached me earlier in the year to coordinate theatre and dance performing artists for the 2016 Pop-Up Laramie Art Walk. The weekend was a great success with artists of all disciplines gathering in the downtown area to share their work with the community. This event is proof in spades that the Gem City has a vibrant arts community that benefits all of the populace. Art viewers and patrons, dancers, painters, actors, sculptors, jewelry makers, musicians, clothing designers and more assembled for an exciting weekend of thriving arts. I'm incredibly grateful to the hard work of the Wyoming Art Party to facilitate such a culturally stimulating event for Laramie.
What excites you most about the future of Laramie?
There is an advancement of public art occurring in Laramie; musicians on street corners, dancers in parking lots, actors in parks, and murals on the walls of our buildings. These displays make Laramie a culturally stimulating place to live and draw creativity out of every crevice in town. I have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the expansion of artistry in the community and I cannot wait to see what else is to come!
What do you think has helped make you successful in your endeavors?
My love for theatre was cultivated in the Laramie community; however, I always witnessed a great potential for growth of theatre opportunities here. Since college, I held a goal to bring more theatre to my home town. This vision enabled me to plan for the steps that make the reality possible. The assistance of a supportive community then provides the foundation for my organization to thrive. Theatre is a communal art - without an audience the art form cannot exist. Fortunately, I have found Laramie to welcome Relative Theatrics with open arms and minds.
Additionally, I believe full-heartedly in the power of theatre. It is a discipline with the capacity to change how people think about the world and how they relate to others. It develops empathy. It shapes compassion for life. Witnessing this consideration and shift of perspective in Relative Theatrics patrons is the greatest reward I can ask for. Acknowledging the worth of my work fills me with a great drive to continue and to deliver the best possible product.
What advice would you give to other young professionals in Laramie?
Discover the elements of your work that you are passionate about and use them as fuel. Identify the value of your work and understand its impact. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but never forget to thank the people who help you along the way.