Ashley Hanson, PlaceBase Productions Producer and Director, received her Master of Arts degree in Applied Theatre at the University of Manchester, UK, where she focused on the role of theatre in the sustainable development of communities. For the past ten years, she has facilitated, written and directed theater and arts-based programs with many different communities and organizations. Ashley’s work is focused on uniting individuals through exploring collective narratives in accessible performances. She recently worked as the Program Director for Public Art Saint Paul, where she managed multiple public arts programs; most notably, Wing Young Huie’s The University Avenue Project, one of the largest public art exhibitions in the nation for 2010. She is accustomed to serving as a liaison among artists, city departments and the community. She calls herself an “Arts Enabler,” working with artists and organizations on the “unsexy” part of the arts – administration and organization – to bring abstract visions into concrete productions. Ashley has received fellowships from the Creative Community Leadership Institute and the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. She is also a founding member of the Yes!Lets Collective of Twin-Cities artists, musicians and community enthusiasts, and she plays ukulele and sings in three folk/Americana bands.
Andrew Gaylord, PlaceBase Productions Playwright and Director has written and directed eight plays with PlaceBase Productions. It was during his undergraduate at The University of Chicago that he began to explore the relationship between art and community teaching theater in Chicago’s South Side. In his MA thesis work at Saint John’s University, he researched the impact of Twin Cities’ art spaces, such as theaters, galleries and public art, on their surrounding community life. This work led him to co-create PlaceBase. He believes that art is not only valuable but necessary for maintaining both a healthy sense of self and a vital sense of one’s part in community. He has dedicated his life to putting this belief into practice in theatrical, visual and musical performance. Beyond PlaceBase he spent two years working with The Cornerstone Group, a real estate developer, to incorporate art and artists into community development in Twin Cities neighborhoods, and he has worked independently to celebrate block-histories through story telling events. He has been a high school teacher of Theatre, Music and the Humanities at Trinity School at River Ridge for more than ten years, and he sings, acts, writes and directs around the Twin Cities.