VOICES’ new executive director focuses on community through art – The Sopris Sun

There is no doubt that MinTze Wu is a mover and a shaker. In the 4.5 years she’s lived in Carbondale, Wu has become a household name in the Roaring Fork Valley art scene. She has been a curator and performer at the Carbondale Arts Garden Music Series, concertmaster of the Aspen Choral Society, collaborator with Dance Initiative and DanceAspen and participant in two VOICES projects – VOICES Women’s Theater Project and The ARTery.

Last week, Carbondale-based nonprofit arts organization VOICES announced that Wu will take over from current executive director Renee Prince on Nov. 1.

Born in Taiwan, Wu moved to New York City at age 14 to study violin at the Juilliard Pre-College Program. She also spent five summers attending the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS), a premiere school for young musicians. As Wu recalls, “I’m sure we came to play at the Carbondale Library,” an AMFS concert stop in the Roaring Fork Valley, adding, “but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined then that I’d be set here.”

She is the founder of the Sounds of Lyons Music Festival in Colorado and BenFeng Music Productions where she has served as producer and artistic director.

In early 2018, Wu moved to Carbondale with her husband, Jem Moore, a talented musician himself, and their daughters, ages 10 and 12. She would travel back to Taiwan with her daughters to work in the summer and winter productions of the BenFeng Music Festival.

But when the pandemic happened, “it made me rethink things and gave me more time to really reach out and grow roots here with my community.”

She joined VOICES in 2019 as an ensemble member with the Women’s Theater Project. Wu said during that production, “I could see what they were trying to get out of me—as a mother, as a woman, as an artist—they were able to get something very new and very delicious in the process.”

Last summer, she and her daughters participated in another VOICES project, The ARTery. Wu explained, “They built this beautiful, small theater stage so that we could bring art to the community. And we got to do some beautiful productions that were conceived, directed and performed by my daughters.”

When Wu heard about the executive director opening, she met with Prince “and she shared with me her story about why she wanted to go. Renee is not just about numbers or job files, but about stories and connections,” she said. Wu.

After some deep soul-searching, asking himself what he really wanted to do, Wu found the answer: create community through art. She said, “I realized that the things I’ve created under the BenFeng name are very similar to what’s been created under the VOICES name—that we’re making art to create community.”

A grateful Wu said VOICES founders Prince and Barbara Reese “poured their heart, soul and resources into making sure this organization is doing this kind of work in this community.”

VOICES Board President Iliana Rentería said they received applications from all over the country and while “some were pretty good candidates, when MinTze came, she spoke about our mission and her passion.”

Rentería met Wu at English in Action’s annual Immigrant Voices fundraising event and recalled how Wu “told her story in such an authentic way and it was an inspiring story.

“I knew she was special and ever since then, I have always been impressed by her great commitment to excellence in everything she does. It represents our values. I see her as an artist but also as a leader and those are great qualities that are not easy to find – but we found them in her.”

Wu concluded, “I realized that VOICES is about the process of building relationships—with you and yourself, with you and your tribe, and with you and your community,” a focus she assures will continue under the leadership of her.

To learn more about VOICES, visit www.voicesrfv.org

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *