Mina Blyly-Strauss

Mina began with In Progress in 1997 as photo and video artist.  She soon began traveling, teaching and became an integral part of forming the organization, to the point that she was the first to coin the name "In Progress."  Mina is now a practicing artist and educator for Minneapolis Public Schools.


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?: Keeping things going--and even growing and getting new space--as a somewhat independent organization (well, with MN Media) through a time that saw a number of other arts and youth media groups and programs struggle, merge, and even seem to fade away is HUGE.

2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: Taking on both grant-funded and earned-income projects, as well as staffing support from volunteer efforts. In Progress has been able to maintain a flexible structure that can make effective use of the variety of skills, talents, and other resources of those it attracts.

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?: A number of things. The first is a relatively small full-time staff infrastructure. While it seems many groups work hard to have a number of full-time staff, In Progress has been able to function with Kris and a variety of part-time contract artists, interns, volunteers, etc. The level of involvement young artists are allowed is also different, as they have always been encouraged to take on leadership roles and advance skills in both artistic and organizational domains. A third thing that makes it stick out is that--as a whole--it's not tightly focused on a single geographical, ethnic, gender, and/or small age-range... it's welcoming to diverse people and opportunities and helps them to develop from where they're at.

4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?: The dual focus on art and people is great.

all thoughts presented on this page have been given with permission from the person interviewed.