2021 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree: Gabriela Sanchez
At the upcoming AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event on Aug. 27, Gabriela Sanchez will be one of the 40 honorees.
The second annual AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event will serve to highlight and showcase some of the most diverse and impactful young professionals across the Philadelphia region.
At the event, taking place on August 27, 2021, Gabriela Sanchez will be one of the 40 honorees. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Power Street Theatre.
Gabriela Sanchez is known to inspire and support creative innovation among art and culture organizations, artists, youth and community members.
Prior to Power Street Theatre, Sanchez has held numerous leadership roles, inlcuding director of education at Norris Square Neighborhood Project, cultural enrichment and facility manager at Taller Puertorriqueño, as well as residence at the Department of Recreation with Conflict Resolution Theater.
She also works as a teaching artist for the Arden Theatre Company and Philadelphia Young Playwrights.
Sanchez is a native of Philadelphia, and graduate of Temple University, having earned a bachelor's degree in theater.
Here are Gabriela Sanchez's responses:
The biggest challenge I have faced in my professional career has been finding the balance as a multidisciplinary artist and arts administrator. They both are important to me and interconnected. However, over the years I have found myself spending more time grant writing, developing funding strategies and managing folks, rather than creating art.
At many times in my career, I have felt resentment toward systems that make it so difficult to lead and thrive as a woman of color in the arts and culture sector in Philly. Burnout culture and scarcity mindset is real especially when you're working in the non-profit sector. It has led me to rockbottom with my mental and physical health. I know I am not alone in this experience. In the navigation of this challenge, I have learned to question and interrogate these learned social practices. To dismantle concepts around white supremacy culture, capitalism, social divides and more.
I have learned that in order to be the best versions of myself as leaders and collaborators, I must prioritize my well-being. Wellness means centering rest, recuperation, pleasure, and joy, as well as accepting when I am not well, being vulnerable, and asking for support. Centering wellness is paramount to a sustainable and healthy life.
I am kinda over talking about DEI in my industry. It’s not that hard. And it’s infuriating that folks get paid to “figure it out” while living in one of the most diverse cities in the country. Folks have been fighting for DEI in the arts and culture industry for far too long and that's part of what is so exhausting.
It’s simple- hire leaders who truly reflect Philadelphia for positions of decision making and power. PAY them what they deserve. Increase their salaries every year and invest in their development. Trust them. Provide them and their family with health benefits. Celebrate them. Honor their boundaries. Hold space for transition and grow. It takes a village to make change!
In my work with Power Street Theatre we continue to deepen our values as a collective. Honoring cross-cultural experiences is one of them: “We are committed to centering the intersectionalities of our identities. We prioritize sharing and supporting the narratives and leadership of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, women, immigrants, refugees, the LGBTQ+, and disabled communities. We are always interested in continuing to expand our table and reach more communities. We know that preserving and uplifting cross-cultural experiences is vital to our multicultural society.” Check out all of our values by visiting www.powerstreettheatre.com
Leadership is worldbuilding! Art with/in community is my protest. Through art, I shift something in the universe. A story is told that was not told previously. I nurture others to carry the torch, to tell their stories, to hold the door open for others. My vision for social change is that, through representation, accessibility, and education in theatre, folks from diverse communities and cultural backgrounds will participate in the act of telling and preserving stories that embody their lived experiences. My creative process centers wellness, community agreements and self-interrogation. It involves discovery, extensive planning, and inquiry. As a director and educator, I see actors and students stretch their characters and themselves- I hear them finally say, “I am enough.” Through organizing story circles and acting in plays that center social-justice themes, I have the opportunity to engage people in difficult conversations around health inequalities, gentrification, rape culture, and more. I invite myself and the people around me to build trust and be vulnerable together, to experience freedom through our art.
Now and always, my intent is to take up space and invite others to do the same, with our bodies, our languages, our cultures, our stories. I intend for there to be a fair reflection in the arts and culture sector of what already exists in Philadelphia: innovators, leaders, artists, survivors, historians.
In five years, I see myself diving deeper into the exploration of imagination and play with my children and beloved partner José. I see my communities and family growing with love!