Battling mental illness is hard during regular times.
How are people coping amidst a pandemic and social unrest?
How is a sector that depends on social entertainment, truth-telling, and community gathering making it during this time of physical distancing?
Artists Sharon Nyree Williams (Storyteller and Arts Administrator), Dani Tirrell (Curator, Choreographer, Educator and more), and Lauren Du Pree (Actor, Singer, Writer, Filmmaker) will share their creative work and, with the support of Dr. Katrina Sanford (Counselor, PsyD), will embark upon a conversation around how they are mentally surviving.
Sharon boldly tells stories from her heart through a variety of mediums – poetry, short stories, film, theatre, and other mediums. She is also an arts administrator. She is the Executive Director for the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas, a nonprofit organization “solely dedicated to presenting emerging Black arts, artists, and ideas in the Seattle area…providing access for courageous conversations to diverse audiences.”
Founder of The Mahogany Project – a theatre arts collaborative that focuses on allowing Black artists an opportunity to share their voice, she also serves on the Seattle Arts Commission, Historic Central Area Arts and Cultural District, Langston Board of Directors, FEED Worldwide Advisory Board, Adult Advisory Committee for Creative Justice, and former Board of Trustee for Cornish College of the Arts. Sharon is a proud graduate of the 2009 Seattle University Master of Fine Arts in Arts Leadership program, as well as a graduate of the Historical Black College and University and Delaware State University with two degrees: Bachelor of Arts in Television Production and a Masters of Business Administration.
Sharon loves telling stories about her life, the lessons she’s learned, and the things she’s observed, with a hope that she will reach at least one person that can relate to her experiences – making a community stronger through the power of storytelling. She is the creator of the podcast “What’s Good” and YouTube show “Shakin’ S Up”.
Lauren Du Pree is an actor, singer, writer, filmmaker from Seattle, WA. She began her career in Washington, D.C. after receiving her BFA in Theatre from Howard University, working at theaters like The Kennedy Center (Orphie in Orphie And The Book Of Heroes), Signature Theatre and Ford’s Theatre. Since moving back home to Seattle she’s appeared in The Pajama Game, Ragtime (Sarah’s Friend), Holiday Inn, Man of La Mancha (Antonia), Annie (Star-to-be), and Rock of Ages at The 5th Avenue Theatre and Dreamgirls (Deena), My Heart Is the Drum (Kanika)and String (Lachesis) at Village Theatre. She’s an original cast member of the nationally syndicated PBS television show Biz Kid$, writes and produces her own content (He’s Too Young, Instagram Model Filter and The Truth About Topical Steroid Withdrawal are a few of her favorite original shorts), and manages a blog, justdupree.com, on health and wellness. In March of 2019, she debuted her first live show, A Night With Just Du Pree, and in June of 2019, she performed in her first feature film, East of the Mountains. You also may recognize her as the spokesperson for the fictional Starbucks store, Pupbucks, or as her alter ego, Carmen with a K, taking over social media one viral video at a time…she wishes.
I want people to know I do not always get it right. I will disappoint them and myself. I want people to know I deeply love Black people. I want people to know I love everyone. I want people to know that I get in my own way a lot. I want people to know that I get out of my way a lot.
Dr. Katrina Sanford is a Clinical Psychologist with specialties in Trauma and Sex Therapy. Dr. Sanford uses her knowledge in traditional African centered healing approaches and background in trauma-informed healing to challenge social injustice issues for her clients and community, particularly racially induced inequities. Dr. Sanford spends much of her time helping her clients decolonize their minds, bodies, and souls from Euro-centric ways of being that continue to negatively impact our whole selves.
Menrva Labs is a media production firm that is all about holding space for creativity and experimentation in the pursuit of social equity. We see media as a powerful tool that greatly influences how people perceive the world around them. And in that, we feel an immense sense of responsibility in fair and equitable representation throughout the entire process of media creation, while exploring and illuminating sensitive issues with dignity and respect.