Helen Wilkie has been an In Progress supporter since 2006. She is the editor of the Bois Forte News and is a critical partner in Bois Forte Nation's public communications network. Each year, Helen works to ensure that the voices of In Progress artists are heard within the PR system of this northern Minnesota nation.
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 am proud of the way In Progress takes their program beyond the monumental task of guiding young people in creating art to finding creative venues for the art to be shared and celebrated with the broader community.
Creating art and stories can in and of itself be a selfish internal process. But when the artist choose to find a way to extend their art to the broader community, the broader community benefits. In Progress artists have taken their work and shared it with the Nett Lake Community through film festivals, art exhibits, community-wide publications and celebrations. These young artist are giving the entire community insights on how they perceive the world. That can serve as an important navigation tool for everyone, including the generation of older leaders serving the community.
2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: The spirit of respect and collaboration that In Progress brings to the communities it serves opens doors through which others want to invite them and help promote the exciting creations that are coming alive.
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?: The value you place on young people's ideas and perspectives, along with the energy behind empowering participants to set and reach their goal.
Willingness to take chances and try new avenues that fit the need of the community being served. When it comes to In Progress, one never hears "We can't do that that, because this is how we've always done it before."
4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?:Talent, passion, commitment to young people.