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Why Booth? Why Civic Scholars?

Booth’s Civic Scholars Program provides the kind of focused expertise and network needed to fundamentally change the nature of nonprofit arts organizations. By utilizing the social and creative capital abundant in arts communities, combined with the ethically driven scholarship fostered at Booth, the economics of art can sway to adapt to the needs of the moment. Booth is the only institution that shares my values and embraces my vision for equity in arts - one that looks beyond what we create to how we create and who we serve.

What are your career aspirations?

Through my experience as a performer, writer, producer, designer, and administrator, I have developed an acute understanding of the mechanisms that allow for a successful creative process. However, artistic works that have the potential to challenge the public with their socio-political messages and innovative styles are too often stunted by financial and cultural mismanagement. With an education provided by Booth, I hope to realize a legacy goal of developing a new model for nonprofits arts organizations that is no longer based in scarcity and includes community aid as a fundamental part of mission.

What skills are you looking to develop at Booth and implement into your sector?

By competing in oversaturated markets and vying for the same dissipating philanthropic support, local and regional theaters are continuously teetering on financial collapse. Utilizing the kind of technical expertise offered at Booth, I hope to provide sustainable financial designs currently absent in much of the industry. Moreover, Booth has provided me with collaborators by way of the Civic Scholarship Program whose perspectives can help develop and implement viable social impact strategies.

Which program format did you choose and why?

For many years, The Neo-Futurists [theater company] has been more than my place of employment; it has been my community and has come to rely on me as a part of its leadership. I have an immediate responsibility to the community that has supported me, especially now when livelihoods are at stake, to see us through overlapping crises and the subsequent recovery. My acceptance to Booth for the part-time weekend program will mean furthering a personal mission while supporting my friends and family during a dire time.

Tell us about your career journey and how you got to where you are now within the social sector.

For several years following secondary school, I was working professionally as an actor and storyteller in the Washington, D.C., New York, and Chicago markets, however, I found the entertainment industry was - and still is - struggling to move beyond clichés and stereotypes of Latinidad. Upon reestablishing myself in Chicago, I dedicated myself as a producer and a writer to the rehabilitation of these narratives and eventually found myself at The Neo-Futurists. Their emphasis on autobiographical, experimental work drew me in as an artist and their unique consensus-based structure prompted me to take on a leadership role as the managing director. Reflecting on the companies I had worked with previously, I realized that much of the harm and iniquities found in arts industries is intrinsically tied to the hierarchical model and thus my desire to seek the skills needed to fundamentally change the nature of nonprofit arts organizations.

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