Episode 99: Art is a Humanizing Process

Marquis Victor is the Founding Executive Director of Elevated Thought, a creative youth development nonprofit in Lawrence, MA. He believes that art is a form of liberation, and that young people – once they have access and exposure to art – are able to build a foundation of self, expand their minds and eyes to identify issues in their communities, and use art to surface creative solutions for those issues.

Marquis VictorMarquis Victor is the Founding Executive Director of Elevated Thought. He leads ET’s vision, objectives, goals, and mission and manages ET’s contracts, commissions, and partnerships.

In addition to being a poet, designer, and photographer, Marquis has a master’s degree in Education from Lesley University and has taught in Revere and Boston, MA Public Schools.

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Episode 92: Youth Voice Transforms a Neighborhood

Celina Miranda, Executive Director of Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), discusses the integral role of young people in the creation of Boston’s Latin Quarter Cultural District. She says that HSTF youth were compelled to speak up about the importance of having a place to call home and a place that recognizes their strengths and assets. The voices of these young people were powerful and central in the transformation of their neighborhood.

Celina MirandaCelina Miranda is Executive Director of Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF), a youth development organization located in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston. Before joining HSTF in August of 2016, she was senior program officer at the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, where she managed grants in education and economic mobility.

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Episode 87: There’s the Intent and There’s the Impact

Lecolion Washington, CEO and Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston, discusses some of the barriers to seeing more diversity in symphony orchestras across America, what systemic change takes, and how to create an organizational culture that is success-based, not deficit-based.

Lecolion WashingtonLecolion Washington, CEO/Executive Director of the Community Music Center of Boston. M.M. Manhattan School of Music, B.M. University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Washington has established himself as a leader for the next generation of arts entrepreneurs, and he has been a staunch advocate for the relevance of music as an agent for social change.

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Episode 79: Opening Doors and Creating Pathways

Sociedad Latina is the oldest Latino youth organization in Boston. Its creative youth development program supports young people from middle-school into early college or career. Executive Director Alex Oliver-Dávila, discusses the symbiotic relationship they have formed with numerous local colleges which allows their students to experience a pathway to higher education and bridges an institutional gap between higher education and community-based organizations.

Alexandra Oliver-Dávila For more than 20 years, Alexandra Oliver-Dávila has worked to create a community that supports Latino youth, values their input, and believes in their ability to create positive social change. Serving as Executive Director since 1999, Alex has transformed Sociedad Latina into a cutting-edge, data-driven, creative youth development organization. Under her leadership, Sociedad Latina has increased and diversified its budget, expanded board membership, increased the number of youth and families it works with and expanded programming.

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Episode 70: Out Youth Theater – Revelatory Experience for Performers and Audience

The Theater Offensive presents the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation, challenges the status quo, and builds thriving communities. Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director, discusses their youth program – a national model for creative youth development – where young people not only create original work and share it back to the community, but are true partners in developing a range of expanded opportunities within the program.

Evelyn Francis. Photo by Joel Benjamin.Evelyn Francis, Interim Artistic Director at The Theater Offensive, is a theatre artist, award-winning educator, and established arts administrator with experience working directly with over 10 Boston area arts organizations. Evelyn’s M.A. in Theatre Education from Emerson College culminated in a thesis, which examined the effects of devised work in the lives of LGBTQ youth.
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