The road to Crookston Minnesota, representing In Progress's first of many roads taken over the past 20 years. 


2016 marked In Progress’s 20th anniversary of working with artists and communities to create digital stories.  We began so small with few expectations.  We laughed and cried and made friends near and far.  As an organization, we grew as a collective, building a network of artists and communities that lacked the resources and mentorship to create their own stories.  For the past two decades we have grown to serve more than 50 geographic communities in10 states.  We have reached over 500,000 through exhibits and screenings and millions through social media.  Most importantly, those that were with us in those first few years, are still with us – many still active in leading the organization as board members, teaching artists, and mentors. 
Today, In Progress is a vibrant organization built on trust and a complex set of working relationships. We have a permanent home at our studio in the north end neighborhood of Saint Paul and on any given day, one can walk room to room and witness artists creating, sharing and learning. Here, children work side by side with adults to impact the lives of others.  We embrace diversity of all kinds and it shows within the artistic works created.  The past four years have flown by.
We have grown significantly in numbers with our new space.  It has brought powerful opportunities and also new challenges. In 2016 we took time to reflect and better understand our strengths and weaknesses as an organization that now has the responsibility of being a permanent partner in the poorest neighborhood in the city of Saint Paul.  We have worked to develop stronger systems for communication, delegation of responsibilities, and thoughtful advancement in building and resource management.  Looking forward we will commit to the following new program strategies:
  • formal engagement of neighborhood partners that serve youth;
  • development of family based cultural arts program model;
  • professional development opportunities for Native American digital art makers;
  • refinement of artist assessment and goal planning process.
Looking back over the past twenty years we are most grateful for the life-long friendships that have developed.  Children have grown to become parents, teachers, professional producers, business leaders and thoughtful citizens.  We have mourned the loss of artists that have passed and we have celebrated a new generation of artists born into In Progress.   We have seen these artists break down barriers and make their way into the mainstream, continuing to fight and represent for communities that have limited representation. People have moved to different corners of the nation, and yet work to stay connected with those they have met.  And we are all still here celebrating those standing relationships, along with the new ones that inevitably come into the mix of In Progress. 
Sai Thao                                                        Kristine Sorensen
Board President                                          Executive Director
Hip Hop Cousins
Jahquail Brown &amamp; Goldi Hill dedicated their summer to making music in the studio 
Sisters In Photography
Katherina & Melissa Vang have taken prominent roles as teaching artists and curators in 2016.
2016 represented a milestone for In Progress as we are now celebrating twenty years of programming with communities that carry powerful stories.  Over the course of the year, artists continued to nurture twenty year old partnerships, while opening the doors of creativity in new locations.  

Long ago we recognized the power artists feel when the camera can be placed towards the images, sounds and histories that they value and know most.  This practice continues today presenting us with heartfelt stories that continue to bring new perspective and understanding to each community we work with.

Fresh Voices

circa 1996
Twenty years after our first workshop in Crookston, the children of our first generation of artists are busy working to create meaningful photos and videos about race, identity and inequity.  


circa 2001
NEXUS photographers exhibited a collection of works at the Gordon Parks Gallery at Metropolitan State University, curated by their mentor Xavier Tavera.
The NEXUS Program has made significant strides in training and mentorship of self taught artists.  This program that began in 2001 with a series of artist dialogues for pre-emerging artists, is now moving at full force with 24 professional artists involved in mentorship and coaching activities, another 60 engaged with training, and more than 200 attending artist talks, and using our studio facilities for creative production.  


Qhia Dab Neeg Film Festival

circa 2010

The Qhia Dab Neeg Film Festival reached well over 1000 persons in its 6th year of programming under the guidance and direction of filmmaker Kao Choua Vue.  This festival was implemented through years of volunteerism and the sheer will to succeed. In the fall of this year the festival was rewarded for that effort in the receipt of a Knight Arts Challenge Award.  Kao Choua Vue who recently left Minnesota to pursue a career on the west coast, has left the festival with a dynamic group of advisors that are now taking us into the 2016 festival season.

Studio 213 & The Digital Journey

circa 2012
Young makers are core to In Progress's sense of purpose.  In 2016 we saw many of the youth that first showed up in 2012 move from curious participants to mature storytellers and artists.  Many of these developing artists face challenges of poverty, racism, family responsibilities, and homelessness.  By providing a creative space that has a consistent presence,  youth have been able to move through these challenges at their own pace with ongoing support  and access. 

In 2016 In Progress provided intensive mentorship, access and coaching services to 12 artists through a newly developing pilot we call Digital Journeys.  An additional 67 youth participated in creative making activities during our open studio activities.  On top of that more than 600 youth came through our studio spaces to learn about digital storytelling.
Jahquail Brown has been creating music since 2012.  Now at the age of 18, he has produced several powerful songs and music videos.

Tribal Partnerships

circa 1996
Since our inception, our work with tribes has brought about great stories and important teachings about how to develop impactful, meaningful programs.  In 2016 we continued to work with schools and community groups to support youth in creating their own stories.   Below we have highlighted some of the very best moments of the year working with Native Nations in Minnesota.
Living Histories - Leech Lake, Bois Forte and Red Lake Nations
Bug O Nay Ge Shig, Nett Lake, and North Woods Schools and Red Lake Middle School engaged students in digital arts learning through academic and community based projects. 
Bug O Nay Ge Shig School student Selena Rushman produced her first solo movie dedicated to her father.
Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin in Duluth
2016 marked the beginning of a new partnership with the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth Minnesota.  In August, In Progress introduced digital photography and writing to youth that chose to show their love for family, culture and mother earth through the art of portraiture and in December returned to partner with the American Lung Association to create an anti-smoking campaign with Duluth teens.
Alayah Johnson-Jennings volunteered her time to mentor new learners in portraiture photography.

Ojibwemowining Digital Arts Studio with Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College
In Progress partnered with Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College to model community based storytelling activities.  In 2016 we closed out our partnership by introducing a model for studio supervision, which the college adopted and then hired the talented IP artist Jeremy Gardner to run.  Jeremy now serves on our board of directors and is keeping us apprised of the college's progress in developing digital arts learning activities for the community.  
Irving Kingbird worked for a full year to produce a music video in honor of his family.  Irving was able to work in the new music studio at the Ojibwemowining Digital Arts Studio to record and mix his song. 

Vision+Makers of Red Lake Nation
In 2016 In Progress artists worked with the Red Lake Chemical Health Program to wrap up video production on an extensive documentary about the singers of Red Lake Nation and their contributions to the healing of families and communities on the reservation.  There is still work to do on this project but the stories collected have moved us all.
The Vision+Makers spent the week collecting drum songs and reflections from the many singers of Red Lake Nation.



In 2016, In Progress worked in 9 unique communities throughout the state of Minnesota.  Exhibits, workshops and creative production opportunities reached an estimated 56,024 persons - another all time record for our work.  Of those numbers, we achieved the following breakdown:
  • 51,586    Exhibits & Screenings
  •   4,438    Individuals directly served by Creative Making & Learning Opportunities
The % of people reached geographically through exhibits and activities was as follows:
  • 22%  Front Avenue Studio
  • 10% Twin Cities metro area
  • 68 % greater Minnesota 
93% of those we worked with were persons of color.  with an ethnic breakdown as follows:
  • 20% African/African American
  • 35% Asian
  •  7% Caucasian 
  • 16% Latino
  • 22% Native American
  • 96% were from low-income and poor households, and 
  • 48% were age 18 or under
  • 27% were age 19 -25
  • 26% were age 26 or older


When I see the sun, I can  be show how strong I can be. I can show for what I believe in and when I look at the sun I can see what I fight for and believe in because I no what I can see when I look into the sun. you can show what believe and fight in when you look at the sun.

--Heaven Hernandez, Fresh Voices


In Progress's board of directors were highly representative of the constituency served with the following characteristics:
artwork produced by the Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin youth artists.
11% African American
34% Asian
11% Caucasian
22% Latino
22% Native American

67% poor/low-income
33% middle-class

33% Rural/Tribal
67% Urban

89% parents
22% administrative
22% foundation experience
100% history with the organization
44% professional artists
Sai Thao- President
Martin Case - Vice President
Wa Houa Vue - Secretary/Treasurer

General Board
DeAnna Drift
Jacylynn Jones
Bienvenida Matias
Victoria Abrigo Ramirez
Bryan Vue
Missy Whiteman
M O T H E R is series of portraits of my mother, a Hmong woman, Mai Chee Vang Yang, during the time of her recovery in the hospital. Looking back and reflecting on my relationship with my mother has three parts; first when I was born to when I started elementary school. Second, when my father had a stroke and years after with constant care for him. And third, the most recent, when my mother had her stroke almost to a year ago. These stages of my relationship with my mother has shifted and changed our care to each other, but at the core between us is truly our own definition of being a Hmong mother, a Hmong daughter.
-- Kazua Melissa Vang, NEXUS


In 2016 in Progress relied on the skills of 67 professional artists, youth mentors, and administrative specialists to implement activities in 9 communities throughout the state of Minnesota.  All staff in 2016 served as independent contractors, many of which taught or presented for 20 hours or less, but fit a very unique set of skills, experience, and cultural understanding that allowed In Progress to design programming to fit the unique needs of its highly diverse programs.  Key characteristics of staff in 2016 included the following:

18%  African/African American
43%  Asian
15%  Caucasian
16%  Latino
 9% Native American

90% poor/low-income
10% middle-class

22% Rural/Tribal
78% Urban

24%  18 and younger
29%  19 - 25
47%  26 and older

  7%   Administrative
21% Guest Presenters
72% Teaching Artists & Mentors
2016 Artists & Specialists
Abel Vang
Alayah Johnson
Allan Starks
Arthur LaMar
Bienvenida Matias
Binesikwe Means
Bryan Vue
Burlee Vang
Cassie McDuffie
Cecilia Martinez
Chanze Xiong
DA Bullock
Darren Cole
David Sam
Eemanna Rivers
Felipe Hernández
Galilea Rodriguez
Goldi Hill
Hlee Lee-Kron
Houa Lor
Isaiah Gatica
Jayden Diaz
Jeanna Marie Carpenter
Jeremy Gardner
Jonathan Thunder
Kamarie Stringer
Katherina Vang
Kristine Sorensen
Laurine Chang
Lisa Xiong
Lula Saleh
Lyz Jaakola
Mark Fischer
Mark Tang
Melissa Vang
Michael La Friniere
Missy Whiteman
Moua Lee
Neil Terry McKay
Netsant Negussie
Nicole Staples
Pa Na Lor
Pang Chong Xiong
Pang Foua Xiong
Pang Thao Vang
Phil Winden
Phylis Nicole Isham
Quanisha Hill
Rebecca Rodriguez
Sadie Jones Hill
Sai Thao
Sao Her
Schoua Na Yang
Seng Yang
Sherita Townsend
Taleb Leal
Tiana LaPointe
Tomas Leal
Tong Lee
Tou Saiko Lee
Touchaingkong Yang
Vong Lee
Wing Young Huie
Xavier Tavera
Xia Yang
Yer Her
Ying XIong


When I stand with my camera, I feel like I have the power to capture not just images but feelings too.  I have the ability to make others understand that emotion can be expressed in how I choose to frame the image and by changing the settings on the camera.  I like that I can tell stories with emotion, with the color and light of the movement - stories that will last beyond a lifetime and be shared for generations.

--April Gomez, Fresh Voices


Volunteers provide essential support to the work of In Progress. Many of our board members and artistic staff go well beyond expectation, putting in hours to prepare meals, hang artwork, clean and so much more.  In 2016 forty-three  people of all ages, and from throughout the state gave their time to support our programs.  Some specific characteristics of those that volunteered include the following:

26% African/African American
37% Asian
 6%  Caucasian
26% Latino
 5% Native American

91% poor/low-income
  9% middle-class

30% Rural/Tribal
70% Urban

28% 18 or under
23% 19-25
49% 26 or older
Alayah Johnson-Jennings
Bean Mays
Cecilia Martinez
Chit Yin Htoo
Christina Rodriguez
D'Velle Montgomery
Desiree Martinez
Eric Bob
Felipe Hernandez
Galilea Rodriguez
Gladys Beltran
Goldi Hill
Hlee Lee-Kron
isaiah Gatica
Jacylynn Jones
Jahquail Brown
Jayden Diaz
Jeremy Gardner
Jim Kron
Kamarie Stringer
Katherina Vang
Kristine Sorensen 
Laurine Chang
Maria Elena Argueta
Melissa Vang
Mike Schmid
Netsant Negussie
Pa Na Lor
Pang Foua XIong
Quanisha Hill
Ruth Taylor
Sai Xiong
Sao Her
Sherita Townsend
Tomas Leal
Tong Lee
Victoria Abrigo Ramirez
Xavier Tavera
Xia Yang
Xiong Lor
Yeeleng Vue
Yer Her


I photograph the protests in an effort to document what it feels like to be a part of this movement.  I show the solidarity, determination and jubilation inside this activist community.    I also show the reactions of onlookers, those on the outside looking in to the protest circle.  I see some of them show solidarity with a smile or raised fist.  Some kittens puppies kittens kittens I’m blanking out.  I’ll write more later.

--Mary Richardson, Nexus

Aakwadé ewin (Bravery)
It takes a brave spirit to bring a child into this world, to take the physical pain of birth and then to dedicate the rest of your life to loving and caring for your child. My sister Daricka Auginash is a brave and courageous mother to be and I love and respect her very much.
digital composite by Katie DeWitt


We would not be able to do this work without the generosity of the following individuals, foundations, community partnerships and government agencies.  We humbly thank all of those listed below:  
Agula Yang
Annable Vang
Bienvenida Matias
Bryan Vue
Cathleen Royce
Cha Lor
Chao Yang
Chi Htoo
DeAnna Drift
Der Thao
Elizabeth Xiong
Evelyn Rolloff
Foung Hawj
Ghao Yang
Hlee Lee-Kron
Houa Lor
Hugo Wng
Jacylynn Jones
Jan Vanderwall
Jane Kahan 
Kabo Yang
Kang Vang
Kao Choua Vue
Kao Na Lee
Kathy Mouacheupao
Kazua Melissa Vang
Kia Moua
Kim Vanderwall
Kristine Sorensen
Lisa Xiong
Maja Wheeler
Make Xiong
Martin Case
Mary Richardson
Melissa Whiteman
Mike Hazard
Nancy Hendrickson
Nhacha Pao Xiong
Pang Thao
PK Lee
Rocky Xiong
Ruth Taylor
Sai Lee
Sai Shouachai Lee
Sai Thao
Sai Xiong
Sao Her
Sarah Vang
Say Yang
Sheila Thao
Sue Mei Chang
Susan Pha
Tieng Hang
Tomas Leal
Tong Lee
Tou Saiko Lee
Touhaingkong Yang
Tracy Rector
Tressa Sularz
Vang Xiong
Victoria Abrigo Ramirez
Wa Houa Vue
Xia Yang
Xiongpao Lee
Yer Her
Cheddor Tv
Dar's Ice Cream
Empire Reality
Fresh Munchiez
Heartland Racing Pigeon Federation Gambling Fund
JMT Subs
Minnesota Senior Care
Pebmoob Senior Center
Traveler’s Company Matching Gift Program
Woodbury Plastic Surgery

Asian Pacific Endowment
Best Buy Childrens Foundation
Knight Foundation
McKnight Foundation

Minnesota State Arts Board
Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
National Endowment for the Arts

All Nations School
American Indian Community Housing Organization
American Lung Association Asian Economic Development
Big Brothers / Big Sisters of the Twin Cities
Bois Forte Cultural Heritage Center
Bug O Nay Ge Shig School
Center for Hmong Arts & Talent
Crookston High School
Crookston Theatre
Dar's Ice Cream
Dayton's Bluff Library
Diocese of Crookston
Folwell Fine Arts Magnet
Frogtown Neighborhood Association
East Side Enterprise
El Gordito
Fisher School
Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College
Fortune Bay Hotel & Casino
Highland Park Middle School
IFP Minnesota
Indigenous Peoples Task Force
ISDS #2142
JJ's Fitness Center
JMT Subs
KBFT Radio 89.3 FM
Leech Lake Tribal Offices
Metropolitan State University
MN Media 
Mountain Iron / Buhl Schools
Nett Lake Community Center
Nett Lake School
North Woods School
Red Lake Chemical Health
Rice Street Library
Speakers of the Sun
Street Stops & Mountain Tops
Sundance Film Institute
Tin Cup
Tiwahe Foundation
University of Minnesota Crookston
Upward Bound
West Metro Educational Partnership


You may not know I’m watching you but I am. I see your kindness, your honesty, your hopefulness and your forgiveness. I see your potential and what you can do if you put your mind to it. I see you for the whole person you are. You may not know this but I hope to be just like you some day. 

--Andriana Robinson Primeaux, Gimaajii Mino Bimaadizimin


Our consolidated statement of financial position as of December 31st, 2016 was as follows:
Government Grants            132,975     
Foundation Support              58,000
Fundraisers                           24,268
Individual Contributions           9,031
Earned Income                      68,428         
Investment Income                         1
Total Revenue                  $292,703  

Professional Services           216,605
Travel                                      15,577
Equipment                              12,556
Supplies                                 25,002
Advertising                               1,634 
Information Technology            5,094
Office Expense                         3,789
Rent & Utilities                        22,359
Insurance & Bank Fees            1,663
Total Revenue                   $304,279
Cash                                   138,323    
Accounts Receivables            7,513
Total Assets                    $145,836  

Total Liabilities                     1,533

Total Liabilities              
& Net Assets                   $165,346

Statement of Program Services & Accomplishements

In Progress's mission is to diversify cultural dialogue and pave the way for new voices in the field of media arts. The organization accomplishes this by providing workshops, mentorships, arts residencies and program development services.  Constituency typically ranges from age 10 to adulthood.

Providing non-academic digital arts mentorship for emerging artists and youth.  Includes workshops, mentorship training, and exhibits.  Also includes fiscal services provided to media artists for small projects.

FY2016 Total Expenses for Artist Services:  $170,171

Community development programs that provide long-term mentorship, workshops and program development to rural and tribal communities.  Extensive travel is tied to this program.

FY2016 Total Expenses for Artist Initiatives:  $37,691

School based partnerships that include artist residencies, workshops, training activities as well as program and curriculum development.

FY2016 Total Expenses for Artist Initiatives:  $77,203


Catching Our Breath. . . .
Because In Progress is a small organization, growth and program expansion is often a challenge.   In 2016 we slowed our growth a bit, reflected on key strategies and began planning for broad program alignment that we hope will deepen the intercultural, intergenerational and geographic relationships that have been developing over the past years.