Joshua Strong has been a part of In Progress since 2003 or so. He grew up with In Progress and is now our lead teaching artist for the Living Histories Program in Nett Lake. Joshua is also an advocate for Two Spirits within his village and beyond.
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 using media arts to "come out". It was both very intimate, personal and yet also open and confident. It really helped me bust down the doors and walls of sheltering myself.
2. What did it take for us at In Progress to achieve this accomplishment? What strengths do we have that helped us succeed?: In Progress is patient and has a constant sense of support. I was very wary and almost antagonistic to Kris because she was a stranger and yet she talked to me like she knew exactly who I was. That "open-door policy" was great to have when I came back to ask for help.
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?: Having been around as long as it has, there's still a sense of covering new territory. It literally is a work in progress and for the students to be a part of that (inclusion) is really fundamental in developing ways of including others. It's also very familiar and relative...I mean it feels like family now and that's a very good feeling to have when creating art. There's a very strong support system that is built.
4. As you think about In Progress, what do you value most? What keeps you engaged here?: In Progress has really become a pillar in my life. The ties that I've built run deep and very strong...they're far more powerful then I initially thought they could be. I've also felt challenged in a way that's at my own speed and on my terms. What keeps me a part of this family is being able to bring In Progress to the youth so that they have the same opportunities for self-acceptance and personal development that I've had. It's just become something that's almost a rite of passage and just a door I want all youth to be aware of so that they're able to fall back on it as I did.