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Sandy Agustin: Arts Administrator/Performer

published on September 1994
in Skyway News

"Put that bag over your head," Sandy Agustin commanded huskily, as if she were a restaurant terrorist. Being good sports, the audience members obeyed as she and other performers turned an ordinary dinner at Cafè Brenda into a "happening" this summer as part of the "Dining Out" series sponsored by Walker Art Center and Intermedia Arts.

Arts activism of this type is hardly Agustin's typical mode, though. She often has a firm but more humanitarian approach, according to Diane Espaldon, managing director of Theater Mu, of which Agustin is one of four core members. "She takes her role as an artists very seriously and sees that through art, she can be a real agent for change. She takes that very, very seriously," Espaldon said.

Working with and supporting other artists has been Agustin's main charge in the past year as she's made appearances around the Twin Cities as a performer, arts administrator, playwright, director and choreographer. It seems everywhere you look, there's Agustin. Without her, the past year certainly would have been less adventuresome.

She's helped to expand Intermedia Arts' "Extensions," a mentorship program for emerging artists of color. The now biannual "Extensions" showcase is one of the hottest spots to see fresh, raw talent.

She's penned two plays about being Filipino American, "Window Pain" and "Some Place to Call home." The former is a work dedicated to her 80-year-old immigrant father; the latter deals with the plight of Filipino women, political outcasts in the Middle East.

In October and November, Agustin showcases her talents as a choreographer in Theater Mus's "River of Dreams," which placys at the Ordway Music Theater. And this winter she and recent dance partner E.E. Balcos will take off for the Philippines to bone up on Filipino folk dances through the aid of a Jerome Foundation travel grant, as well as support from the Asian American Renaissance and Filipino educational and cultural groups.

Watch Agustin jump out of a paper bag, a reinvention of herself, as she returns to dancing and choreographing, an art form she seems to have temporarily placed on the shelf for other arts endeavors.

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david southgate
writing for living.