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Episodes and Guests​

Episode 3: Navigating the Art and Business of Inclusion

This episode of Rising Together features a conversation with two-time Emmy winner, Ringling College alum Sara Kambara, who is now a producer at Chromosphere, discussing various topics related to art, design, inclusion, and personal experiences. They share insights on their background, career journey, projects, cultural influences, overcoming failures, and the use of AI in the entertainment industry. They emphasize the importance of self-care and offers advice to students. The conversation touches on diversity, storytelling, the evolution of the entertainment industry, and the impact of AI on creative roles.

Sarah Kambara (she/they)
Two-time Emmy winner, Ringling College alum, Producer at Chromosphere
Episode 3: Navigating the Art and Business of Inclusion
Episode Transcript

Sarah Kambara (Sinclair Snake, City of Ghosts, Ask the Storybots) is a producer who has assisted on many Chromosphere projects since 2018. From coordinating schedules and budgets, tracking timelines, and deadlines, and handling correspondences, Kambara brings a versatile skillset which will help ensure the success of projects. Their producing skills have earned them multiple awards, including being awarded an Emmy as Producer on Ask the Storybots in 2018 (Outstanding Special Class Animated Program) and 2020 (Outstanding Preschool Children’s Animated Series); as well as an Annie in 2019 and 2020 (Best Preschool Show). Prior to Chromosphere Kambara worked in production management at the Walt Disney Animation Studio on films such as Big Hero 6 and Zootopia. Kambara is a 2014 Ringling College Business of Art and Design Ringling alumni.

Enhance your Curriculum with Our Discussion Guide
You can incorporate this episode into your class or workshop curriculum with this discussion guide.

Further Resources
Explore Sarah’s work here:

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Headshot Mara Torres

Episode 2: Echoes of Resilience: Navigating Identity and Artistry with Mara Torres González

In this episode of Rising Together, we sat down with Mara Torres González, a gallerist, curator, and artist from Puerto Rico. The conversation delves into Mara’s experiences following Hurricane Maria, and how it shaped her perspective as both a person and an artist. As Mara settled into the artistic community of Sarasota, Florida, she candidly shares the hurdles she faced as a Puerto Rican living in the U.S. While the city boasts a mosaic of cultures and backgrounds, Mara sheds light on the stark realities of being a Latin artist in a predominantly non-Latin environment. In recounting her journey, Mara offers a compelling narrative that underscores the resilience and creativity. Her experiences serve as a poignant reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and recognition faced by marginalized communities, both within the art world and beyond.

Mara Torres Gonzalez (she/her)
Gallerist, Curator of the Artist
Episode 2: Echoes of Resilience: Navigating Identity and Artistry with Mara Torres González
Episode Transcript

Mara Torres González is a visionary visual artist, born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and currently based in Sarasota, Florida. Mara’s artistic journey commenced at the age of four when she embarked on formal training at the prestigious Students Art League, Liga de Arte de San Juan, in Old San Juan. Here, she crossed paths with the influential artist professor Betsy Padín, who would later become her mentor and play a pivotal role in shaping her artistic trajectory. After graduating from high school with an Art Honor Award and earning certification from the Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of the Arts (PRIDA), Mara continued her pursuit of artistic excellence at the School of Fine Arts and Design of Puerto Rico, (Escuela de Artes Plásticas), graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fine arts and painting. During her studies, Mara had the privilege of learning from esteemed artist professors such as Rafael Rivera Rosa, Carlos Marcial, Luis Felipe López, Julio Suárez, Charles Juhasz, and Elizam Escobar.

In 2001, Mara embarked on her entrepreneurial journey by establishing her first design business, which evolved into one of Puerto Rico’s premier event design firms over the course of 18 years. Notable highlights of her career include a collaboration with celebrity event designer Preston Bailey in 2017, hosting an international event with guests from 12 countries. She also designed the wedding of NBA player José Juan Barea and Miss Universe Puerto Rico Viviana Ortiz.

The trajectory of Mara’s life took a drastic turn on September 20, 2017, when Hurricane María ravaged Puerto Rico. This life-altering event prompted Mara to document the aftermath, humanitarian crisis, and the resilient spirit of the Puerto Rican people. The experience inspired her acclaimed 209 series, which debuted on the one-year anniversary of the hurricane in 2018. Five years later, on September 20, 2022, Mara celebrated the publication of her first book titled, 209, marking the culmination of her dedication to capturing and sharing the stories of resilience, with a book signing event at Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College of Art and Design

In 2020, Mara expanded her artistic footprint by establishing MARA Art Studio and Gallery in Sarasota, Florida. Here, she collaborates with local and international artists, and local organizations such as Art in Common Places, Ringling College of Art and Design, New College of Florida, Mosaic Movements, and HALO Arts Project. Mara is particularly passionate about supporting underrepresented Latin and women artists, striving to elevate their voices and narratives.

Mara’s mixed media works are found in galleries and private collections across Puerto Rico, México, Europe, Canada, and the United States. Her work serves as a powerful medium to tell stories and evoke emotions in viewers. Her artistry is a testament to her commitment to using her career and work as a compelling voice for the underrepresented, ensuring that their stories resonate on a global scale.

Enhance your Curriculum with Our Discussion Guide
You can incorporate this episode into your class or workshop curriculum with this discussion guide.

Further Resources
Explore Sarah’s work here:

Don’t forget to subscribe to stay updated on new episodes and follow us on social media.

Nate Jacobs

Episode 1: Rising Above the Racial Issues of the Past to Inspire the Next Generation of Performing Artists

This episode delves into the transformative journey of Nate Jacobs, the visionary behind the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT). Through candid anecdotes and heartfelt reflections, Nate shares his personal narrative, his earlier years at the Asolo Repertory Theatre performing the parts of servants and other like characters in supporting roles, and his experiences with racial issues in theater. The need and desire to change the cultural scene encouraged Nate to create a professional theater company showcasing all Black casts and narratives that resonated deeply with Black audiences.

Nate Jacobs (he/him)
Founder & Artistic Director
Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
Episode 1: Rising Above the Racial Issues of the Past to Inspire the Next Generation of Performing Artists
Episode transcript

A graduate of Florida A&M University, Nate has written, composed, directed and performed in many shows, as an actor, singer, dancer and comedian. He trains and mentors youth in the performing arts through programs such as Stage of Discovery, WBTT’s summer musical theatre intensive program.

Nate has received several awards and accolades through the years. The Sarasota County Branch NAACP Youth Council recognized Nate as one of its 2012 Men of Valor. In 2015, he was honored with the prestigious Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., “for his contributions to Black theatre specifically and American theatre in general.” Nate received the Arts Leadership Award for Artistic Achievement from the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County in 2018. In 2021 he received the Perfect Pitch Award from Key Chorale, which recognized him as a driving force in the arts and for his collaborations with other arts organizations, including American Roots: The Gospel Experience, a series of concert performances with WBTT performers and Key Chorale presented in three area churches in the fall of 2019. In December, 2021 The New York Times published a profile of Nate and WBTT. The story traces Nate’s journey from teacher to performer to founder of WBTT, and his support for other Black artists.

Enhance your Curriculum with Our Discussion Guide
You can incorporate this episode into your class or workshop curriculum with this discussion guide.

Further Resources

  • Explore Nate’s work here.
  • This Light of Mine – a PBS video on the Making of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.
  • New York Times feature on Nate and WBTT.

Don’t forget to subscribe to stay updated on new episodes and follow us on social media.

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Join the conversation on social media using #RisingTogetherPodcast and share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences. Are you an artist, designer, or advocate with a story to share? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us to be a guest on our podcast or suggest topics and guests that align with our mission. Contact the podcast team for collaborations.

Join us in making Ringling College more inclusive.

Center for Diversity and Inclusion
Ulla Searing Building, second floor in the Student Life Suite
941-309-4099
inclusion@ringling.edu

Learn more about our Diversity and inclusion efforts at Ringling College.