In Progress artist since 1996, parent, and current board member representing Crookston Minnesota
1. Considering all your experience with In Progress, what is one achievement that you personally are most proud of? Why is this achievement important to you? What does it represent?: I think for me dealing with the issues of diversity and cultural identity has been a big factor and something that I am proud of. In terms of sharing information with the public, I am also proud of the artwork and how it is used to connect with the public. So often we we go to meetings and professional training about diversity and inclusion but we have a hard time processing all the information. Then we see the work of the young people in the community and the work addresses those difficult issues in a powerful and positive way. It keeps people from taking the message the wrong way. I see the artwork from Crookston as a positive influence on our community.
2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: I think Kris and the people that she works with, help the youth organize their thoughts. That has been a core part of In Progress's strength. As a community we have a lot of insight and knowing about our community but In Progress is able to help us to articulate those insights and communicate them with a larger public.
3. What do you think makes In Progress unique? What 2-3 things are at our very core that make us stand out from other arts programs or youth development programs?: I think In Progress really tackles difficult topics. I think other programs teach more about technique or about how the discipline works, but the topics that In Progress present are really deep deep topics that are often hard to talk about. In Progress has figured out a clever way to engage young people in expressing themselves through art.
4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?:Progress I think progress. I saw it during the early years - dabbling with my own stories. It helped me become more engaged with the community now as an adult. Now that my daughter Desiree is involved with the program, I can see the transformation. She is more vocal and reflective about topics of diversity that affect her and members of the community. Isaiah is also a great example of exhibiting bravery within his work (about bias within the school system). I think without In Progress, those stories would not be told and would not be shared openly within the community.
Also, camaraderie within the group that develops and becomes an ongoing support system, goes outside of grade and age and school, especially for those young people that lack of interest in other activities like sports or school based functions. Because it is free, with a flexible schedule In Progress actually draws young people that otherwise would never participate. Casper is a strong example of a young person, who at age 17 had never really participated in activities outside her small circle of friends. It was good to see him engaging in the program.