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Event Program

Wednesday, April 19, 6pm - 8pm
MACLA, 510 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113

6:00 pm - Creative Conversations 2023 opens. Appetizers & drinks available and opportunity to network

6:20 pm - Welcome from genARTS co-chairs & introduction of inaugural genARTS Microgrant Award Recipients

6:25 pm - Conversation with inaugural genARTS Microgrant Award Recipients: Keana Augila Labra and Ruby Carter

6:35 pm - Hear about Keana’s Writing Fellowship

6:45 pm - Screening of Ruby’s documentary (10 min teaser)

6:55 pm - Fireside Chat moderated by Stephanie Barajas with Panel: Ron P. Muriera, Laura Poppiti, and Tasi Alabastro

7:25 pm - Q&A with panelists 

7:40 pm - Closing remarks, networking & tabling

8:00 pm - Creative Conversations 2023 closes

Meet The Panellists

Ron P. Muriera

RON P. MURIERA is Director of Arts Industry Support at the City of San José Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) overseeing OCA’s arts and culture funding portfolio, agreements for San Jose’s six cultural facilities, and creative initiatives and programs. He has over 20-years’ experience and knowledge as an arts and cultural administrator, performing artist, community activist, educator, historian, consultant, and advocate for underrepresented communities in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and throughout California. Ron has dedicated his life’s work to addressing issues such as: racial, social, and economic justice, arts & cultural representation, and educational equity. He served on the San José Arts Commission for eight years, and currently serves on the board of directors for Californians for the Arts and California Arts Advocates, two statewide arts advocacy organizations. Ron is a multi-disciplined performing artist in theatre, dance, music, and comedy, and has received numerous awards and recognition for his volunteer work across communities.


Laura Poppiti

LAURA POPPITI is the Program Director at the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), where she manages the organization's grant programs for California artists and arts workers, in addition to overseeing special initiatives. Prior to CCI, she worked for more than a decade at small and mid-size arts and arts education nonprofit organizations—including New Conservatory Theatre Center, The Imagine Bus Project, SF Camerawork, and the Museum of Performance & Design—in various fundraising and programmatic roles. Laura currently serves on the Support for Individual Artists Committee for Grantmakers in the Arts and the Advisory Circle for Look What She Did!, an LA-based nonprofit with the mission of bringing stories of astonishing women, past and present, to the forefront of our culture. She has participated as a grant panelist for the California Arts Council, Creative Sonoma, LA County Department of Arts & Culture, and San José Office of Cultural Affairs, among others. Laura received her B.A. in History from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and her M.A. in Exhibition & Museum Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute. (She/Her)


Tasi Alabastro

TASI ALABASTRO is an actor, multi-disciplinary artist, and self-proclaimed flaneur. Alabastro is a recipient of the 2019 Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award and the 2018 SVCreates Emerging Artist Laureate. He has been featured in the SF Chronicle Datebook highlighting his efforts with local arts organizations and virtual programming which includes co-hosting Our Digital Stories (.org) with fellow MALI alum, Playwright and Director, Jeffrey Lo. Recently he served as a panel guest at the Theatre Bay Area conference speaking about social media hacks to build brand identity. Professional credits include A Christmas Carol (A.C.T); Twelfth Night, musical adaptation (SF Playhouse); Every Brilliant Thing, VIETGONE, and Stupid F**king Bird (City Lights Theatre Company); Sisters Matsumoto (CenterRep); Peter and the Starcatcher (Hillbarn Theatre); Macbeth, and Three Days of Rain (Dragon Theatre). He is a senior company member of the Red Ladder Theatre Company, a nationally acclaimed, award-winning social justice theatre company. For extended bio, work, blog, and pretty cool art visit Twitter/Instagram: @tasialabastro. (He/Him/His).

The Inaugural genARTS Microgrant Award Recipients


Keana Aguila Labra

KEANA AGUILA LABRA is a Cebuana Tagalog Filipinx genre & genderfluid poet & writer in diaspora residing on stolen Ohlone Tamyen land. She works to provide a safe literary space for underserved & underrepresented communities as the co-Editor-in-Chief of literary magazine, Marías at Sampaguitas & the co-Founder of the BIPOC/LGBTQIA+ focused publishing press, Sampaguita Press. Outside of MAS & SamPress, she is the Assistant Director of the Santa Clara County Youth Poet Laureate Program alongside Director Janice Lobo Sapigao, a fellow of the Kearny Street Interdisciplinary Writer's Lab cohort summer '21, & served as one of the Honorary Santa Clara County Poets Laureate of Oct. '21 alongside Lorenz Mazon Dumuk. In her free time, she is a book reviewer with City Book Review. She is the author of the chapbooks, No Saints (Lazy Adventurer Publishing), Mohilak (Fahmidan Co. & Publishing), and Kanunay. (They/ Them/ She/ Her)


Ruby Carter

RUBY CARTER is a writer, filmmaker, and student at Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California. Through her work, she aims to explore her place in the world as a queer Black student and draw parallels between advocacy and events of the past to the contemporary. In June of 2022, she attended the Reynolds Young Writers Workshop at Denison University and published her first essay, Sweet Potatoes, in the workshop’s anthology. She is currently working on a full length documentary, Made Invisible: Uncovering Queer America, which uplifts the voices of historically overlooked queer activists and explores the power of queer visibility in schools. In her free time she enjoys reading queer fiction, sewing, and playing flute and trombone.

2023 - genARTS Creative Conversations - Title.png
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