Earlier today, we published interviews with Short Run board members Megan Kelso and Mita Mahato.Our final Short Run interviewee of the day, Otts Bolisay, is the newest member of Short Run's board, but his enthusiasm for the organization is palpable.
How did you get involved with the Short Run board of directors?
[Short Run cofounder] Kelly [Froh] invited me last year. I had been a Short Run fanboy for a pretty long time — I had gone to, I think, every single one of their summer school classes. I'd been to the programming that they have around the Festival every year. They brought Anders Nilson in one year to speak at Ada's on Capitol Hill. I hadn't really known his work, but even to hear their introduction, and why they thought he was an interesting artist and why they even bought him out to Seattle was just really great. I didn't know any of that stuff. I'd even volunteered at the festival — I screenprinted shirts and everything. I think all that showed I would actually show up and that I was interested.
Why you in particular? What do you think you bring to it?
You know, it's funny: I actually told Kelly that I didn't think I should be on the board because one of the things that I appreciated about Short Run is it was so very distinctly led by women, and that fact showed up in all sorts of ways that I appreciated in the programming. Just everything about Short Run was welcoming and open and it had really different energy. And I appreciated that and I didn't want to mess that up.
So what did Kelly say in response to that?
She said, "no, it's still women-led because I'm here." And I think she knew my background in communications, working especially with nonprofits — she may have had some of that in mind, and some of my relationships that I've had over the years with communities of color. I've done a lot of social change work, and that might have been something that she was hoping I could also bring to the board.
So what have you been doing? What have you been up to?
Well, leading up to the festival, we were just talking about the kinds of programming we wanted, who we could get, who might be a good person to do [onstage] interviews and things like that. And as we get closer, it's more festival business, just the day-to-day of the organization: making sure that there's money, that we don't have to scramble for anything, that we are able to pay people.
I send out the few emails that the organization sends out — reminding people that the festival's coming up, or contacting all the exhibitors with the instructions for Fisher Pavillion, and updating the website.
And as a self described Short Run fanboy, what are you looking forward to in this year's festival?
A coworker of mine sent me an illustration that somebody named Myra Lara, did and it was really cool. And I checked out Myra's website and I realized Myra is one of our exhibitors, and she's also local. Myra is one of the people I'm really looking forward to seeing. I'm also excited for something called Free Ass. Mag. Anders Nilsen is going to be back. i think he's going to have the second part of Tongues with him. I bought the first part last year and I loved it. I'm looking forward to picking that up.
And then I'm excited about yəhaw̓, an indigenous regional indigenous creative group. They've got a bunch of events over the course of the next year, but they're going to be tabling as well. I'm super excited to see what they have.