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Yura Sapi

A non-profit entrepreneur, passionate about global healing justice through the arts and creative activism.



Yura hosts and produces the Building Our Own Tables Podcast on HowlRound which supports you on our journey towards collective liberation.

Viviana Vargas, "Yura Sapi" (they) is a being of Earth, a multi-disciplinary artist, creative activist, arts manager, educator, facilitator, nonprofit entrepreneur, and energy worker at the intersections of the arts, healing and social justice. Yura is honored to build racial, social and climate justice worldwide with U.S. nonprofit LiberArte Inc. serving as its co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. Under LiberArte's scope of programming, Yura creates liberated spaces that uplift, heal, and transform with Advancing Arts Forward, farms with AfroIndigenous food sovereignty program Protectores de la Tierra, and curates Balistikal, an LGBITQ+ healing and arts event space centering individuals and causes across Latin America. Yura hosts and produces the Building Our Own Tables weekly podcast on HowlRound which spotlights BIPOC artists and creative activists who create autonomous programs and organizations. Yura offers racial, gender and disability DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) consulting as part of the Melanin Collective, hosts and consults for in person and online workshops, university classes, gatherings, discussions, and resource sharings across the country and worldwide.

Yura extends beyond borders and prioritizes anti-racism and decolonization for our globally just futures.

Yura is of Indigenous Kichwa descent and holds Ecuadorian and Colombian citizenship with a lifelong connection to their birthplace on Manahatta island, Lenapehoking. They studied theatre arts at Boston University giving them tools of embodiment and healing practices applied to art making. They then studied arts management at CUNY Brooklyn College to find their place as an independent creator and producer. They trained with artEquity to be a racial and social justice facilitator and with the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in their Innovative Cultural Advocacy fellowship as a cultural equity emerging leader. They are always learning and hold immense gratitude for healing practitioners, artists, activists, fundraisers, farmers, ancestors, and guides who help them on their path.

Connect more with Yura on Instagram, LinkedIn or yurasapi.com.

Promotional graphic for building our own tables featuring Malia'Kekia Nicolini
From Perfectionism to Play with Malia’Kekia Nicolini
Podcast

From Perfectionism to Play with Malia’Kekia Nicolini

13 June 2024

In this final episode of season four, ​​Malia'Kekia, co-founder of B4 The Other Creations, explores how play and vulnerability drive transformational breakthroughs. Malia'Kekia shares their journey as an educator and leader, emphasizing the power of releasing perfectionism and embracing the unknown. The episode highlights fostering innovation and deep connections through the unique pedagogy of play.

Promotional graphic for building our own tables featuring Murielle Borst Tarrant
Reclaiming Sovereignty in Theatre with Murielle Borst Tarrant
Podcast

Reclaiming Sovereignty in Theatre with Murielle Borst Tarrant

6 June 2024

In this episode, Native theatremaker and founder of Safe Harbors NYC, Murielle Borst Tarrant shares her journey and vision. Safe Harbors NYC supports Indigenous performing arts, providing a creative sanctuary and advocating for cultural equity. Discover strategies to overcome industry frustrations, build inclusive spaces, and see the light ahead. Tune in for wisdom and inspiration to create meaningful change in the theatre industry.

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Redefining Success with Carla Stillwell
Podcast

Redefining Success with Carla Stillwell

23 May 2024

In this episode, Carla Stillwell and Yura Sapi challenge the "starving artist" trope, offering tips to overcome scarcity mindsets in theatre. Carla, founder of the Stillwell Institute for Contemporary Black Art, shares personal experiences advocating for breaking traditional theatre boundaries and fostering holistic, inclusive environments emphasizing the importance of community and collaboration, and highlighting storytelling's power, especially for people of color.

A promotional graphic for Building Our Own Tables.
The Soul Work of Theatre with Sharia Benn
Podcast

The Soul Work of Theatre with Sharia Benn

16 May 2024

Join us on a journey with Sharia Benn, founder of Sankofa African American Theatre Company, as she shares her inspiring origin story and the challenges of fostering representation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's theatre scene. Delve into the challenges of representation, the soul work of theatre, and the transformative impact of art in shaping communities. Join us for a compelling exploration of identity, equity, and the art of social change.

Building Our Own Tables teaser image with guest headshot.
Breaking Boundaries with Jamil Khoury
Podcast

Breaking Boundaries with Jamil Khoury

9 May 2024

Experience the transformational journey of Silk Road Cultural Center, formerly Silk Road Theatre Project and Silk Road Rising, as co-founder Jamil Khoury shares about navigating the landscape of storytelling post-9/11. From combating stereotypes and standards to nurturing diverse voices, follow their evolution from live theatre to digital platforms, culminating in a multidisciplinary approach aimed at fostering connection and understanding. Join the movement towards inclusivity and empowerment in the arts.

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Innovating Theatre with Tiffany Vega
Podcast

Innovating Theatre with Tiffany Vega

2 May 2024

Discover Tiffany Vega's inspiring journey from premature birth to trailblazing theatre professional. From East Harlem to Evolution Management Consultants, she highlights the power of authenticity, perseverance, and innovation in the theatre industry. Gain your insights into challenging norms and fostering diversity for the future of our live entertainment artform.

A promotional graphic for Building Our Own Tables.
Elevating Indigenous Perspectives with Rhiana Yazzie
Podcast

Elevating Indigenous Perspectives with Rhiana Yazzie

18 April 2024

In this episode, Rhiana Yazzie shares her journey of founding New Native Theatre and the importance of Indigenous storytelling. She reflects on the challenges and rewards of carving her own path in the theatre world, emphasizing the significance of staying true to one's cultural identity and values. Rhiana discusses the transformative power of art, community, and connection to the earth and invites listeners to support and engage with New Native Theatre's work.

A promotional graphic for Building Our Own Tables.
Theatre as Medicine with CJ Ochoco
Podcast

Theatre as Medicine with CJ Ochoco

11 April 2024

In this episode, we delve into CJ's origin story, tracing her journey from pre-med student to theatre major and founder of Breaking Wave Theatre Company in Guam. Yura and CJ explore the transformative power of theatre as a healing space, the importance of community and accessibility, and the revolutionary potential of reimagining organizational structures. With passion and insight, we envision a future where storytelling and connection thrive.

Building Our Own Tables teaser image with guest headshot.
Cultivating Abundance Through Community Care with Nicole C. Limón
Podcast

Cultivating Abundance Through Community Care with Nicole C. Limón

4 April 2024

In this episode, Nicole C. Limón shares her origin story, tracing back to pivotal moments of realizing her worth and breaking through societal invisibility in the theatre world. From co-founding Movimiento Molcajete to birthing Matriarchy Theatre, Nicole unveils her journey, embodying resilience and community care. Tune in to explore the transformative power of authenticity, the art of manifesting abundance, and the future of leadership in the evolving theatre industry. 

Building Our Own Tables teaser image with guest headshot.
Crafting a Global Table for Caribbean Voices with Magaly Colimon-Christopher
Podcast

Crafting a Global Table for Caribbean Voices with Magaly Colimon-Christopher

28 March 2024

In this episode, Yura Sapi is joined by Conch Shell Productions founder, Magaly Colimon-Christopher as she shares her journey in establishing a global platform for Caribbean voices. Learn how Magaly navigates challenges and fosters collaboration to amplify underrepresented voices, and explore the transformative power of storytelling in shaping perceptions and fostering empathy on a global scale.

A performer stands in the center of the frame as another moves a prop into frame.
Evolving Our World Through the Power of an Actor’s Empathy
Essay

Evolving Our World Through the Power of an Actor’s Empathy

2 November 2023

Empathy can be a very powerful tool for our collective liberation, and it is something actors are often more skilled in than others. Yura Sapi discusses how actors can harness the power of empathy to have a significant impact on our world.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Create Space with Gabriel Barrera
Podcast

Create Space with Gabriel Barrera

22 March 2023

In the season finale of the Building Our Own Tables podcast, Yura Sapi invites Gabriel Barrera to share about creating Scenic G, a visual art and design company providing services in art and design, workshops, consultation, facilitation, and mentorship infused with social justice. After spending twenty years as a scenic designer, Gabriel shares about his decision to leave and build his own table as an independent artist providing opportunities for others along the way. Topics in this episode include decolonizing ideas of who a teacher can be, addressing toxic behaviors, and facilitation skills.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Full of Wonder with Mica Rose
Podcast

Full of Wonder with Mica Rose

15 March 2023

Theatremaker Mica Rose joins Yura Sapi this week and shares about co-creating Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston. Topics for this episode include moving from morning routine to waking ritual, the power of circles and cycles, and a grounding meditation.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Transform Yourself with Tierra Allen
Podcast

Transform Yourself with Tierra Allen

8 March 2023

This week, Yura Sapi is join by Tierra Allen who shares about creating The Real Work, a podcast about theatre culture and transformative justice that is co-produced with We Rise Production. This episode’s topics include learning from non-humans, sharing poems and songs, and being the change.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Trust Your Gifts with Kelundra Smith
Podcast

Trust Your Gifts with Kelundra Smith

1 March 2023

This week, Kelundra Smith sits down with Yura Sapi to discuss building her own table as a playwright and shares the process and inspiration behind some of her latest works. Topics for this episode include affirmations, changing hierarchical structures, and moving beyond a sense of urgency.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Find Your Dream Team with Christiamilda Correa
Podcast

Find Your Dream Team with Christiamilda Correa

23 February 2023

This week, Yura Sapi is joined by Christiamilda Correa to discuss creating LiberArte, a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to racial, social, and climate justice worldwide; the Strategic Planning Institute; and NYU Latinx Alumni. Topics for this episode include writing prompts, seeking out spaces to find community, and transforming challenges.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Imagining with Victor Vazquez
Podcast

Imagining with Victor Vazquez

8 February 2023

Victor Vazquez joins Yura Sapi to share his experience creating X Casting, a casting company that spans theatre and film in the United States and worldwide through a shared purpose of collective liberation and anti-racism. This episode’s topics include thinking about our role in the political landscape, globalism, and a curiosity for generous solutions.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image.
Blessings with Brittani Samuel
Podcast

Blessings with Brittani Samuel

1 February 2023

Recently named Edward Medina Prize winner Brittani Samuel joins Yura Sapi to share about her experience building her own table as a theatre critic. Topics in this episode include choosing joy every day, being a child of immigrants, and a shared meditation practice. This episode is dedicated to theare artist and critic Edward Medina, honoring his legacy which brings us all together today.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image.
Use Your Voice with Jose Solís
Podcast

Use Your Voice with Jose Solís

25 January 2023

Jose Solís joins Yura Sapi to discuss creating the BIPOC Critics Lab and co-creating the Token Theatre Friends podcast-webseries. This episode’s topics include finding beauty in the internet, how a metaphorical grain of sand can change the world, and a tarot reading for the first three months of 2023.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image.
Fill Your Cup with Abundance Zaddy
Podcast

Fill Your Cup with Abundance Zaddy

18 January 2023

Abundance Zaddy joins Yura Sapi to talk about creating Cause Reign, an oral history project that connects Black people—with a focus on Black trans and queer folks—to their histories through dreamwork, the practice of remembering, recording, and activating the healing potential of dreams. Topics in this episode include prioritizing love and sweetness, transcending time, and asking for consent.

Building Our Own Tables Season 3 teaser image with guest headshot.
Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi
Podcast

Welcome to Season Three with Yura Sapi

11 January 2023

How exciting is it to transform our future and be the future ancestors we dream for? Yura Sapi opens the space with a gratitude ritual and shares about what’s to come on the new season of the Building Our Tables podcast. Topics for this season include evolutionary times, the four elements, and sounds of nature.

The guest, Rose Kim, with some hair in her face against a space background to the right of the podcast logo.
There's Nothing General About General Admission
Podcast

There's Nothing General About General Admission

With Rose Kim of Art Rat Theatre School

22 September 2021

Yura Sapi speaks with Rose Kim, founder and producing director of Art Rat Theatre. Art Rat Theatre is a production vehicle dedicated to gardening anticolonial, anti-capitalist theatre for a truly diverse new era audience and catalyzing a greater network of independent institutionally marginalized, young adult creatives.

A headshot of the guest, Eric Lockley, against a galaxy background.
Transforming Organizational Structures
Podcast

Transforming Organizational Structures

With Eric Lockley of The Movement Theatre Company

15 September 2021

Yura Sapi speaks with Eric Lockley, co-founder of the Movement Theatre Company. Lockley is a member of the company’s producing artistic leadership team, who work together to create an artistic social movement by developing and producing new works by artists of color. Their work engages audiences in a rich theatrical dialogue, enlightens communities to the important issues affecting our world, and empowers artists to celebrate the many sides of their unique voice.

Money Matters With Ann James of Intimacy Coordinators of Color.
Money Matters
Podcast

Money Matters

With Ann James of Intimacy Coordinators of Color

8 September 2021

Yura Sapi sits down with Ann James, founder of Intimacy Coordinators of Color, whose mission is to support and promote decolonized intimacy education and inclusive hiring practices in the entertainment industry.

A portrait of the guest Ivyon E. against a galaxy background with the Building Our Own Tables logo to the left.
Funding Accountability
Podcast

Funding Accountability

With Iyvon E. of The Parsnip Ship

1 September 2021

Yura Sapi sits down with Iyvon E., artistic director of The Parsnip Ship, a podcast play company that amplifies bold artists for audiences who crave accessible stories and storytellers.