for-credit U of M independent study internship with NOW studios

petals sandcastle
6 min readJan 3, 2022

express your yes foundation is a nonprofit born to bring together disparate social groups to create, explore, play, perform, socialize, heal, rebel, move, and grow.

we produce multimodal theatre and political performance art that challenges the most divisive aspects of our culture, economy, and government. this includes facilitating fabulous public discourse; encouraging synergistic resource management and sharing; & boundary-pressing progressive programming to negotiate with our human software.

we produce podcasts, videos, music, journalism, literature, theatre, performance, and art to share marginalized perspectives. we use these platforms to amplify minority voices and help us participate in government, social programs, and the arts.

we educate the local community about businesses owned by women, people of color, lgbtq+ people, and other marginalized groups.

we amplify marginalized voices and increase their access to resources; & we produce media to explore and evangelize new cultural and societal structures based on love and perpetual empowerment that bridges the light and the dark.

often, our efforts are supported by therapeutic professionals offering creative & healing practices, including meditation, yoga, acupuncture, massage, breath work, music, dance, theatre, improv, circus and more.

our latest brick-n-mortar space, NOW studios, in downtown ann arbor, is a multi-modal production company, activist theatre, social lab, gallery, and underground playhouse.

our efforts for the coming semester include cafe study sessions, live shows and events, podcasts, Q&As, talks, panels, forums, art classes, meditation and yoga, dance parties, drag shows, poetry slams, open mics, in-the-trench journalism, political activism, and more.

we’re at an existential precipice. what we do or do not do in the coming years will have colossal effects on our shared reality. that said, shaming and blaming and rattling off all the statistics in the world won’t budge us as a people. we reach into our collective heart to reach our collective mind. we unlock creativity and playfulness and devotion to movement, to exploring life and witnessing each other. our mission is less ‘burn it all down’ and more ‘put fabulous filters over reality that shows us what can be, if…”

the system is savage — corrupt and dangerous and exclusive by design. designed to destroy, to fill us with fear, to pit us against each other, to rob us of our time and money, our hopes and dreams and effort. designed so we remain ever under the corporate cleat of landlords and politicians and bankers and preachers and police —

in an attempt to fit someplace, we’ve detached from our individual authenticity. from our brave, messy inner-child that was born to love and create and explore, and so we’re reclaiming our time—

as a people, it’s time to stop tolerating the toxic fallout of a privileged few; it’s time to take stock and acknowledge the rippling effects of our behaviors—

it’s time to flood the airwaves with non-normative activity — time to jam the system with good ideas and stacks of acts and peacefully acting up. it’s time to empower students to feel radically safe and supported and celebrated and challenged by beautiful, provoking company who see a vision and see how we each fit. it’s time to rise and Get Said and be counted; time to speak and move authentically, with heart-centered honesty as we playfully work towards a collective vision of love-centered, creative-centric social justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, peace, harmony, consciousness, creation, movement, flow, art, carbon-neutrality, global oneness. . . creation is war’s kryptonite.

bigotry, war, global warming, famine, disease, pandemics, corporate greed, ignorance, hate, brute fascist force, social media-fueled anxiety, depression, isolation. . . so much feels so off — so what can we do, how can we help?

this internship aims to find out.

all internships will run the entire duration of the semester, unless otherwise negotiated. students will be encouraged to track their personal journey within the foundation, and will have micro projects and regular check-ins, as well as their own blog, and irl/online presence within the movement.

each independent study student will design their own program with us. Potential Tasks include:

holding radically safe, explorative space for Getting Said—this might come in the form of hosting a soapbox open mic for students to express their insides or an evening of improv games that tap our inner-creative or a group gazing eye meditation to unlock our abilities to be vulnerable.

All Things Events — from start to finish: planning, management, production. this might include initial consultations, event set up, hosting, advertising, performance, and more.

Performance — we are a production haus and Getting Said is pivotal to this movement. our interns bent towards performance will participate in our weekly shows, invisible theatre, pop-up public performance art, and regular online streaming.

Host — students bent towards public speaking and leadership will be empowered to host events, teach classes, run sessions, join our podcast, and be a liasion bridge between the disparate factions of reality.

cafe study sessions––throughout the semester NOW studios will host regular cafe study sessions for students and the greater community to come and get to work in a magical, buzzing atmosphere.

Art installations — students bent towards creating multi-modal immersive worlds will help us create exhibits, installations, paintings, drawings, graphics, publications, & VR/IRL pop-up playlands for the community to explore and play, learn and grow, and get involved.

Activism and outreach — we can’t liberate oppression living in a jar. we can’t wait for the world to change. express your yes foundation aims to be vanguard visionaries in the trenches of Good Trouble — including hosting & joining protests, rallies, marches, parades, and otherwise peaceful public displays and performances that jostle the algorithm.

all things social media — from content creation to posting and sharing and maintaining a dialogue with our ever-growing community. this includes the full range of multi-modal, multi-media content: photos, videos, blogs, articles, graphics, tiktoks, tweets, astral projections to the universe, and more.

advertising / marketing — from flier making and hanging, to SEO, analytics, and graphic design work. In addition, our interns will be the faces of NOW studios and express your yes foundation. They may end up on the news or radio; they may be interviewed or interview others; they may attend mixers and galas and fundraisers.

all things film — from storyboards to shooting & editing content; hosting film screenings; collaborating with the team, and generally creating a strong visual narrative for our movement.

business — finance, budget, book-keeping, accounting, strategy, research, business school liasion, campaign management. as well, our b-school intern will be tasked with working intimately with our team to come up with strategies and policies to help usher in a more benevolent, equitable tomorrow.

grant writing & research, specifically in the realm of the students’ studies, interests, and expertise. our part-time grant writer / fundraiser Nicole will work intimately with students as mentor, collaborator, and friend.

Outcomes & Expectations: the possibilities are endlessinterns will be challenged while having a fabulous time; they’ll produce content; they’ll meet new networks of collaborators and build their bag of tricks while amping up their qualifications and resume; interns will become supportive mirrors and stewards for other students and be asked to stretch themselves and their creative process.

calling all rebel dreamers! all queer activists and non-normative unicorns looking to lift off on something magic !

it’s time for over-the-top realness to stir the conscience of our nation. Grief into Gasoline, Rage into Revolution. we are so grateful and eager and excited to work and dream and shake things up with you !

if this all sounds very much in alignment with your dreams and beliefs, then please consider joining our team !


the family of NOW studios & express your yes.



petals sandcastle

queer painter_poet flappy bird for the love revolution. art. ideas. flow. filosof.e lit'ru.cha.