This was quite an exciting year for Open Hearts Open Minds! Our organization is changing and growing and continuing to make a positive impact on the lives of people.
Will Hornyak resigned from our board, but we added three dynamic new board members: Carla
Grant, Victoria Spencer and Patrick Walsh.
With help from grant-writer Janet Voss, we brought in more money than in any previous year. Our Income was: $91,337. Our Expenses totaled: $64, 581. Our Net Income was: $26,756.
We had a successful production of Hamlet at Two Rivers prison, directed by Todd Oleson, Victoria Spencer, Anna Crandall, Patrick Walsh and Johnny Stallings. Also, Karin Magaldi,
Richard Wattenberg and Johnny taught a Hamlet class at Two Rivers prison. Actors in the play and students in the class were able to receive college credit through Blue Mountain Community
College. This was a first for us.
Midway through the year what had been a Dialogue Group that did theater projects morphed into two programs at Two Rivers: a Dialogue Group and a Theatre Group. Facilitators of the Dialogue Group are former board members Deborah Buchanan and Bill Faricy, along with Jude Russell, Todd Oleson, Bushra Azzouz, Nancy Scharbach and Johnny Stallings. Directors of our Theatre Program are Patrick Walsh, Anna Crandall and Victoria Spencer.
Theatre at Coffee Creek completed its first year. Carla Grant and Don Kern, the facilitators, directed two performance events that were received with wild enthusiasm (and some tears) by the women residents of Coffee Creek prison: “Unconditional Love” in the Spring and “The Release” in the Fall. They arranged for Hand2Mouth Theatre to bring their production of “Pep Talk” to the prison. On September 27th, Carla and Don hosted an evening called “Women, Prison and the Arts” at First Unitarian Church, along with Sherrin Fitzer, a prison administrator and prison theater director who came to Oregon from Illinois to see our production of Hamlet and to meet with Carla and Don’s group. The loving spirit of Theatre at Coffee Creek very much impressed Sherrin.
Our Arts in Prison program at Columbia River Correctional Institution completed its second year and is going strong. It continues to be a haven for deep dialogue and fantastic music! We had a great performance event there in the Spring called “Spring Forward,” and helped to liven up the annual Family Picnic in the Summer. Regular volunteers with the program included Jake Turner, Leigh Kennedy, Victoria Spencer, Patrick Walsh and Johnny Stallings. We had a LOT of guests throughout the year, including a group from the First Unitarian Church. The Ukalelians, Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, brought 20 ukuleles one Thursday in May and really rocked the joint!
We also started a weekly Music Program at CRCI, facilitated by Eugene Lewis, Jake Turner, Kyle Nicholson and Johnny.
This past year Nancy Scharbach and I have spent a lot of time staying in touch with and visiting men who have transferred out of our programs at TRCI and CRCI. I have also been helping many men with their transition from prison back to society through Home for Good in Oregon (HGO). Open Hearts Open Minds helped to organize a concert at First Unitarian Church for Musonda Mwango, a Zambian refugee who was in our Arts In Prison Program. The event raised about $1000, which helped him pay his rent.
In 2015, Open Hears Open Minds changed our relationship with Bushra Azzouz’s film project, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Prison.” The board felt that, as an organization, we cannot be responsible for producing the film, i.e. raising the money. Open Hearts Open Minds still serves as the nonprofit umbrella for Bushra’s fundraising efforts.
We are very grateful for the generous support of our donors. From the very beginning, Jerry and Donna Smith have been the bedrock supporters of Open Hearts Open Minds. In 2015, they gave us $20,000. Ronni Lacroute donated $12,000 for our Hamlet play and class at Two Rivers. She also donated $10,000 to the Film Project. At the time of the request, it was still a program of Open Hearts Open Minds. Ronni also donated $15,000 in late 2015 to Two Rivers Theater, to be used in 2016. Voodoo Doughnut gave us $8,000. Theatre at Coffee Creek received the following grants, most of which will be spent in 2016: Autzen Foundation $2,500; Collins Foundation $6,000; Spirit Mountain Community Fund $2,500; Oregon Community Foundation $5,000. Thanks to Janet Voss and Carla Grant for the hard work of grant writing! Thanks to Howard Thoresen for his gift of $1,000.
And a great big THANK YOU to all those who have given of their time and money and
enthusiasm and love to further our mission of promoting peace, love and understanding!!!
peace & love,
Open Hearts Open Minds