Saturday, January 08, 2005



Dear Friends of Great Leap:

Happy New Year! After 7 years as Great Leap’s Managing Director, I will be going on an extended maternity leave of absence beginning January 1, 2005. My partner Tony Osumi and I are expecting a baby in late January/early February.

When I began here at Great Leap in 1997, our main focus was establishing Great Leap as a theater-based national touring company, reaching children and college audiences of up to 50,000 each year with our multicultural performances. Some of these performances on our roster included, “A Slice of Rice,” “A Grain of Sand,” “A Slice of Rice, Frijoles and Greens,” and the “Grain of Sand Reunion Concert Trio.”

While we still tour quite a bit, we have expanded on that each year by adding the “To All Relations” community residencies which we have made friends in Phoenix, San Jose, Detroit, Watts and Boyle Heights. Our most recent residency, “Sacred Moon Songs” has been a great collaboration artistically, socially and spiritually. We have also begun work on COLLABORATORY, an initiative designed to invigorate Great leap with new talent and usher in the next generation of diverse community artist-leaders. In 2005, we look forward to the world and local premieres of the long-awaited theater production, “The Triangle Project: Journey of the Dandelion” featuring Nobuko, Yoko Fujimoto of KODO and PJ Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko.

I have grown so much in the past 7 years. I have learned much about the struggles and successes of non-profit life in a nurturing multi-ethnic arts environment under Nobuko’s leadership and commitment to community art-making. I am great-ful for the many friends I have gained working with the Great Leap community/family of artists, staff, board members, donors, funders and the very receptive Great Leap audiences. Likewise, Great Leap has grown in the past 7 years. Our annual budget has doubled; we now have Harry Um, Development Associate, phloe pontaoe, Booking Coordinator, and Luke Patterson, who is being promoted to Administrative Coordinator, our talented and dedicated staff working with us in the Leaper office.

I would like to also announce that Tarabu Betserai Kirkland will be stepping in as the Interim Managing Director from January–April 2005. In May 2005, I will return to Great Leap as a Board Member and plan to work from home on a limited basis, until a new Managing Director can be hired and acclimated. I am so great-ful to Tarabu for his incredible knowledge and wisdom, as he guides Great Leap’s programs and development activities in the coming months, and works with the board and staff during a time of continued re-visioning and transition for Great Leap.

As we plan for 2005 and beyond, we look towards sustaining our organization and continued growth, development of programs and funding in a time of extreme cutbacks in funding at all levels. I hope you will stay with us, continuing to support us with your generous contributions, love and energy.

Peace and all my love,

Jennifer Kuida
Managing Director

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