We are artists and edge-walkers...people who believe in the power of the arts
for cultural transformation
by engaging our innate creative spark, sharing that expression with the world,
and encouraging marginalized artistic voices to be heard.
To support the arts and artists on the margins to transform culture.
WHAT WE DO
We have a dual purpose in advancing the arts in a culture that desperately needs new stories to shape a just and grace-filled society.
1. We collaborate with artists on the edges of mainstream culture to write, act, move, or play out the stories within them.
2. We provide opportunities to bring live theater into communities that value the arts, but don't have the means to do so.
WHAT WE VALUE
The power of the arts to enrich and expand what is life-giving for the good of all and challenge what isn't ;
The opportunity for every community to book quality live performances in their community who can't afford it;
The opportunity for artists to creatively express their stories without going broke;
The ability of humor to build community and perspective;
The innate goodness and wholeness of every soul.
MEET OUR BOARD
Ted Swartz, Founder/CEOTed is a playwright and actor whose been mucking around in the worlds of the sacred and profane for over 25 years. Ted fell in love with acting and theater on his way to a traditional pastorate.
Coupling theater and seminary education, Ted became a theologian of a different sort, combining comedy and creative insight into something new. Ted is the founder and creative director of Ted & Co Theaterworks.
Alison Casella Brookins, Board ChairAlison is our board chair, a pastor and playwright who is still figuring out what the difference is. As pastor of Chicago Community Mennonite Church she strives to live into a theology of justice, joy, and humor, dreaming of holy spaces where people can tell the truth and engage as their full selves. She mastered divinity at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. During seminary she interned at Ted & Co TheaterWorks where she wrote We Own This Now, which has toured the U.S. and Canada.
Susan Althouse Swartz, Board TreasurerSue had been an educator for 25 years. She serves as Vice President of another local nonprofit board, is deeply involved in church work and helps with leadership on Celtic spiritual pilgrimages. In her free time she loves to walk, read, travel, offer hospitality and play with grandchildren. Sue has been a supporter of Ted’s work in theater arts from the beginning. She is acting treasurer for the CAHS board.
Valerie Luna Serrels, Board SecretaryValerie is the booking agent and campaigns manager for Ted & Co Theaterworks. She is also a spiritual director, the founder and facilitator of Shenandoah Valley Church of the Wild, and a co-founder of the Wild Church Network. She loves all things story (reading, writing, movies), spending time with her partner, adult children and cats and with nature. She loves learning about Celtic spirituality, geneaology, consciousness and human potential.
Daryl PeiferDaryl is a retired businessman and small business consultant with years of experience as a college administrator and volunteer for various local charities and community organizations. He has supported the work of Ted & Co for the past ten years.
Mitch StutzmanMitch Stutzman serves as an Everence® Stewardship Consultant. He is passionate about helping congregations and not-for-profit organizations with their stewardship education and charitable planning needs, and helping individuals create charitable giving plans in line with their faith and values.
Before joining Everence, Mitch served in a human resources capacity for a manufacturing company in Hesston, Kansas; as a development officer and resident director for Hesston College.
Amanda Miller GarberAmanda is a church planter, spiritual pioneer and relentless dreamer. She serves as the Chief Instigator/Founding Pastor at RISE, a young faith community in Harrisonburg, Virginia (riseharrisonburg.com).
Throughout the last two decades, she has led in a variety of church cultures and contexts. Urban and rural, large and small, traditional and non-traditional - these settings have enabled her to discern and cultivate the God-given hope and possibility within a variety of people and places.
Ted Swartz is a man whose life has been shaped by the intersection of theology and theater, humor, and alternative ways of viewing scripture, life, and what it means to be human. He's used his gifts to, in turn, shape that theology and lived experience in communities across North America with his humor, wit, and insight into the human condition. After 30 years of writing, acting, and touring, he began to visit that proverbial 'what's next' question. What's a white straight man in his 60's to give and do with a life of accrued social capital from so many years on the road? What does one do with one's privilege?
In an age defined by division, othering, and injustice, together with the decline of support for live theater and the arts, Ted began to speak with colleagues and friends about his legacy. The Center for Art, Humor & Soul is a result of following his questions and his heart, to open doors for important, and marginalized, voices to be heard - women, young people, queer, people of color. The Center exists to support the arts, and theater in particular, in a time of cultural unraveling, when the arts are most needed and to empower alternative voices to be heard.
Ted learned to make a living as an artist, as a cultural creative, as a believer in the importance of the arts. His new vision will extend the reach of the arts so that any community with the desire to bring a play to their region can do so. It extends the reach for other artists to also have the opportunity to develop their stories and be heard, and not lose their financial livelihood while doing so.
The desire beneath this new venture is to advance lives lived with imagination, as co-creators in an expanding universe. To offer a place of belonging for artists who walk on the edges of norms. As one generation gives way to what is emerging in the next, this company is an incubator for creative work, combining storytelling, theater, laughter, faith, and justice.