Episode 4 of the Mavens Do It Better Podcast features Jillian Schultz and Beatina Theopold, both social justice and event producer mavens.
Listen in as Heather Newman talks with Jillian and Beatina about:
Hear how they got involved with the INTO ACTION event - January 2018
The Los Angeles ARTivist scene
Their favorite parts of working on INTO ACTION and what future projects they have in the works.
Heather had the pleasure of working with these ladies, and Creative Maven was a community partner for the INTO ACTION event, a celebration of community power + cultural resistance that took place January 13-21 2018 in Downtown Los Angeles.
Combining the work of 175 world-class artists; 80 hours of powerful panels, workshops, and performances; and citizens with the goal of shining a light on injustices, galvanizing communities, and turning ideas into action.
Heather Newman: Hello everybody, this is Heather Newman giving you some more Maven Moments. I'm here today backstage with some lovely women I've been working with on Into Action, a celebration of cultural resistance and community power here in Los Angeles and ladies I'm going to let you introduce yourself.
Jillian Schultz: All right. My name is Jillian Schultz and on the Into Action team I've served a couple of different roles and worn a few different hats. I started off as the volunteer coordinator and then kind of transitioned into overseeing the production of all of the graphic design assets for getting the word out about the amazing work that we're up to here.
Beatina Theopold: And I am Beatina Theopold and similarly have done a couple of different roles. I started out on the donor team working to make sure that we had some money to make all of this magic happen. And then moved into, to work on the impact team with Eleuthra Lisch. Just to make sure that, you know, we have the record of what we are accomplishing here and that we can talk about all of the good work that we've done with some metrics, so number of volunteers that we've had come through the doors, number of people who've participated in our workshops and people who signed pledge cards and gotten involved with our art. So looking forward to getting the word out about that as well.
HN: Yeah. And what's been really fun for me is to. We're podcasting so welcome. So, yeah, so like I've just recently met these two gals and from being an event planner for a long, long time I can't tell you how impressed I've been with them both. They've been a joy to work with and they both have done monumental things here. I've watched them type so fast that you can't even see their fingers and running around and making things happen.
BT: With their fingers.
HN: Yes, fingers like the wind! So anyway, so have either of you worked on something like this before or worked on this event community or with these folks?
JS: So, I know this team from a group called Artivist LA
BT: We actually, that’s how both of us know them.
JS: Yes, both Beatina and I are on the steering committee of that group and that's how we kind of joined the fun. With regard to if I've worked on something like this before, I have worked on a number of large scale like public art events before, international photo festivals. I produced a number of those while I was based in Beijing, but it was nothing like the magic of Into Action. in particular the turnaround time, like making an event of this scale and size and human power come together in essentially two months is truly unprecedented.
HN: When was the start date of this? Cause I got involved a little bit later than you all did.
BT: I would say Yosi, the executive producer, Yosi started in October corralling people and getting people into their different roles. So, it really was just a three-month lead time, you know three and a half months from start to finish, which is a pretty quick turnaround for an event of this scale. This is the largest one that he's done to date. I have not been involved in the others that he's done, but Manifest Justice, Truth to Power. There are a few others.
HN: Manifest Hope.
BT: Yeah, that had been in Philly and other cities and have been sort of two to three days. Similarly, a lot of artwork but maybe not quite as large scale as this one. This one, you know, I knew Yosi, knew of Yosi, very briefly when I worked on the Obama campaign in 2007 and have followed what he has done and was just really excited to get involved in this because of the caliber of artists that he really attracts to submit their work. The level of artistry in the gallery is just amazing and it's really been a pleasure to be a part of it.
HN: Cool. That's great. So are you both, where are you from, Jillian? Where are you from?
JS: I'm from Chicago.
HN: Oh, hometown girl. Like myself.
BT: Go bears.
HN: Yeah, go Bears.
JS: Go ball sports!
HN: Went to high school in Wheaton. Where in Chicago?
JS: I kind of moved around between Lakeview and Evanston.
BT: I from a very cold place, I'm from upstate New York, from Ithaca, New York. And I lived there for many years, then, like I said, worked on the campaign, bounced around for a while, was in Chicago for a little bit of time and moved to LA about two years.
HN: Okay, great. So what's, what's next for you both after this?
BT: I do have to say that, you know, I moved out to LA about two years ago. I've been involved in politics for a long time, but I am excited to get involved in more art related activities and I think LA is the city to do that. It's, you know, people think of it as the entertainment capital, but I think it's more than just entertainment and especially now it's arts and culture and people are really looking to infuse, I think a lot of their heart into the entertainment industry and you see a lot of people who are changing the industry and bringing new voices in and it's an exciting time to be here. So I'm excited to be a part of all that.
HN: Jillian, how about you?
JS: Oh boy. So much is next. Immediately after this project I switch gears to pick back up full steam ahead on a project that I'm doing for the Magnum Photo Foundation and I'm helping them to develop a mentorship program focused on cultivating documentary photographers, filmmakers, lens-based media practitioners in China who will be documenting, like working on social justice issues. So, that mentorship is exciting and then also doing
BT: That is another quick turnaround.
JS: Yeah, another quick turnaround.
JS: And then I'm doing another similarly large-scale exhibition event festival related to climate justice with the Asia Society. It's an event called Coal and Ice and it's all about mankind's dependence upon coal and its impact on climate change. And that happens in San Francisco at Fort Mason in September. So that's like another full steam ahead type of endeavor. Lots of stuff like that. But I'm, I'm really excited. I've been in LA for four years and I was based in Beijing for a long time and a lot of my work has involved art and China, but it's been really thrilling to get involved in Artivism and find where the rubber meets the road of using art and culture to support social justice causes. So hopefully more of that.
BT: Wait, tell them about the movie.
JS: Oh yeah. I'm also producing. Forgot about that. Thank you. Would you like to be a producer? I am producing a documentary called How to Have an American Baby about Chinese birth tourism in Southern California, which is coming out any moment now. Watch out.
HN: That's exciting. We tell me a little bit about Artivists LA.
BT: Yes. So Artivists LA is a group that started right after the first Women’s March. So this is kind of the anniversary. Today's the day. Cristina Pacheco, who's an executive producer and Aleta Moliga who's an executive producer of this event, the Into Action exhibit. They both began Artivsits LA. After the first self-help graphics, women's sign making party, there was just this overwhelming energy. So many people who wanted to channel their energy into, into action, right? And they wanted to use their artistry for good things and get involved in changing the world. And so, the group kind of stood itself up in response to this overwhelming outpouring of people who wanted to, you know, paint signs and like knit hats and…
HN: Get together.
BT: And make sculpture.
JS: Make art.
BT: Get together and make art that could really express all the, you know, all of the emotions that are happening around what's going on in our country. So, we've had a lot of fun and we've had a lot of people get involved. We've done a bunch of different projects there have been, you know, movie making projects, there have been sign making. There's been sculpture…
JS: Hooten-nannies, protest songs, a flash mobs.
BT: Yeah. So, it's exciting and growing and everybody should get involved. You can find us online at @Artivists_LA on Instagram.
HN: Ah, gotcha, yeah. And there's a Facebook page as well and its very active
JS: ArtivistsLA. Look us up, I'll add you.
BT: Yeah. And we meet monthly and usually have good snacks and good chats. So we'd love to see you there.
HN: That's awesome. So, both of you are sort of new to LA-ish as am I. Outside of this sort of, where's your favorite place to hang out?
BT: Well, I live in the Larchmont area, so I kind of straddle Larchmont and Korea Town. I love going to Korea Town for some Korean barbecue and then also over in Larchmont there is a lovely farmer's market on the weekends. Go Get 'Em Tiger is my favorite coffee shop. Just a little plug for that. Everybody it's very nice. I take some dance classes at Dance Arts Academy. Those are all my favorite places. I love the Griffith Observatory.
JS: Yeah, I'm also similar neighborhood gal. I live in like East Hollywood/Korea Town zone. I love a good dive bar, so I highly recommend the HMS Bounty. It's like a 1960s nautical themed dive bar inside of the Gaylord Manner. Former hotel now residence. Highly recommend. It's like stepping back in time.
BT: Five stars.
JS: It's awesome.
HN: Five anchors.
JS: Yeah. I also, I'm obsessed with a chilaquiles, so anywhere I can get that. Tacos Via Corona in Atwater Village has a chilaquiles burrito for $5. That is amazing. And Cacao Mexicatessen has really good chilaquiles. So that's.
BT: That's where you can find Jillian
JS: Or out in the San Gabriel Valley having super legit Chinese food.
HN: That's good. I can't wait to flip through, rolodexes don't exist anymore. Dating me a little bit, but I'm going to be tapping you both for that for sure. I can wait. It's been amazing to watch you both, just meeting you and just being around other amazing strong women and women who are a little bit younger than me just coming up and kicking ass. And so it's just the grace under pressure that you both have shown with a lot going on has been pretty impressive. So I just wanted to say for the record, they're amazing. And if you're looking for folks to work with, I would highly recommend contacting me and getting ahold of these two because they're both fabulous. I know that this has been a lot, like I've had moments during this time where I just have been stunned to silence or tears of joy and all of that and not to put pressure on you to pick out one, but is there something that stands out or a couple of things that stand out to each of you at this experience that you want to share with folks?
BT: So, I think, yeah, I mean it has been, you know, a total emotional rollercoaster because you're working hard, you're exhausted, but then you're also, you know, around these amazing experiences. I think one of the things that I really loved was the dance session that they did, the dance activism. We shut down the bridge here and there were two groups of women dancing across the whole bridge. And just the joy of that was so amazing and that was a really big high. And then there are other pieces of the show that really touch you and remind you of just, you know, a lot of the grief that is happening in our country. One of the pieces that I think is most moving is the piece that is, that represents all of the mothers who've been affected by police violence and it's just such a beautiful piece and you see the pictures of their sons below them, and just realizing, you know, the heaviness of that experience of life and what it must be like. So yeah, it's been, it has been definitely an emotional experience to be a part of this and I'm so grateful for every part of it.
HN: How about you, Jillian?
JS: I would say what has impacted me the most deeply has been volunteer interaction. My faith in humanity is restored with every person that has like made, there are people that have come from across the state, from across the country to give their time, energy and expertise to make this happen. And that like, that blows me away and renews my faith that like the fight will go on and that the only way out is through and we're all in this together. And that's like what keeps me coming back and showing up when we're exhausted and under resourced and overwrought. It's like we're all doing this together and people are really, really grateful for this type of opportunity and to get involved and I'm looking forward to how this continues and like taking the show on the road and seeing what, what else we can make possible.
BT: I also have to say, you know, it has been the people that we're working with this, they're just such an amazing group of people and I feel lucky to have been a part of it because I have really built a lot of friendships. You know, I've of course built professional relationships, but I think also a lot of friendships and it's exciting.
HN: Yeah, absolutely.
JS: I was saying to my parents the other day on the phone, they're like, you sound stressed out and tired. And I was like, it's fine, I found my tribe in Los Angeles. These are the people, these are the ones I want to keep doing this type of work with these types of people.
HN: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. I feel the same way. So you two, so thank you ladies for a moment. I pulled them away and I was like, "Come on, let's go do this for a second." And they were like,
BT: Ten seconds, ten seconds, ten seconds.
HN: "Wait, just wait a second. I'm typing, I'm typing". Like, oh my God. I was like, all right. I know, I know, ladies. Let's go. So anyway, thank you. Thank you both for all your hard work on this. This is Heather Newman with another maven moment podcast and just remember, we're always learning together. We rise and empathy makes us human and action makes us warriors, so get out there.
BT: Into action!
HN: Thanks ladies.
BT: That was fun I feel so professional.