Kao Choua Vue came to In Progress at the age of 15. She immediately began telling stories of Hmong history and culture through video and photography. Today she is the visionary behind the Qhia Dab Neeg Film Festival which in 2014 will celebrate it's 5 year anniversary. She continues her work as a teaching artist with the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network and continues to act as a mentor to Hmong youth at In Progress.
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 most proud of the fact that I started the Qhia Dab Neeg Film Festival when I was just 19. I have always had a vision of using a video camera to further history and bring together generations of Hmong. In Progress provided us the opportunity to do this on a personal level. People who are willing to put their heart and mind to building something find a place at In Progress.
2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: It took embracing the idea that you don't always receive something back. It takes people that are willing to give everything - to treat others like family. This is what makes In Progress powerful. It needs energy, persons that are experienced to help others take an idea and turn it into a reality.
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?: Generations of families come here. Those that started In Progress are still with us. They don't want to leave. They started here with nothing. In Progress gave them a push. In Progress works with them to become more successful. People are able to become the person they want to be at In Progress. We work with people, stand up with them. We don't do it for them but we help them to run with it. In Progress is all over the state and they keep everyone connected through Facebook and other social media.
4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?: Knowing that I have the keys. That when I walk through the door that others are already here. As an adult, I warm up the place. The kids eyes light up, through dialogue, and the relationships we build through knowing each others' art work. It's what makes us strong. In Progress artists and mentors really make a difference. They allow kids as young as 8 to stick with it. In Progress connects people to each other.