top of page
JBliss2020-15306 (1).jpg



Founder/Artistic & Executive Director

Jesse Bliss is an international playwright, director, producer, actress, poetess and veteran arts educator. System impacted herself, Ms. Bliss has been facilitating theatre and writing workshops in prisons over two decades. She holds a Bachelor of Arts  from California Institute of Integral studies and a teaching credential in Arts, Media and Entertainment.

Her work has been produced around the world at venues such as the United Nations, Off-Broadway, Edinburgh Festival, Traxx at Union Station, Lincoln Heights Jail, S.P.A.R.C at the Old Jail in Venice, The Last Bookstore, King Eddy Saloon, The Rosenthal Theater at Inner-City Arts, Casa 0101 Theater, Theatre of Note, Occidental College, UCSC, UCLA, and California Institute of Integral Studies to name a few. Her plays ROOTS AND WINGS, DIAMONDS, TREE OF FIRE, A RECORD OF LIGHT, and NIGHT FLOWER have had a significant impact for both artists and audiences. Her writing has been published by Brooklyn and Boyle, Center Theatre Group, Writ Large Projects, and Angel City Review, among others. She has taught and created curriculum for Center Theatre Group, The Geffen, Inner-City Arts, Unusual Suspects, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, J.U.I.C.E. and Inside OUT Writers among others. She is a featured artist in Kate Crash's LA WOMEN, LOOK WHAT SHE DID, Yahoo News' SHINE, and an Emmy Award Nominated segment on Spotlight Arts, Standup for the Arts. Documentaries. Her writing workshops for incarcerated girls inspired her celebrated graphic chapbook, in collaboration with Alfie Numeric, I LOVE MYSELF GOLDEN, loved on both sides of the walls. 


Her ground-breaking trilogy, written by BIPOC women writers includes MATRIARCH, LUMINOUS STREETS: A DTLA Theatrical Tour exploring matters of women’s survival and pursuit of justice, and WOMEN AT WORK , have been met with enormous appreciation. Most recently, Ms. Bliss is writing the World Premiere of THE JOY RIDE, a mobile show performed by world-class artists delivered out of vintage convertible exploring matters of racial injustice, COVID-19, friendship and artistry.   Ms. Bliss is Co-Producer and Co-Host of KPFK 90.7’s THINK OUTSIDE THE CAGE, a radio program exploring all matters of mass incarceration.

Gabriela Lopez de Dennis foto.jpg


Associate Director

Gabriela López de Dennis is an award-winning storyteller—writer, producer, director, actor, content creator. She has been working in the arts and entertainment industry for over 20 years. Gabriela is the owner of the design studio, Soap Studio Inc., and one of the co-founders and CEO of Lone Stars Entertainment, an independent production company that produces films, videos and web content. She recently co-produced the Women at Work virtual performance (which included a work in progress she wrote), The Joy Ride mobile, outdoor, multi-disciplinary show, and the Matriarch outdoor performance, for The Roots and Wings Project with its founder and creator of these projects, Jesse Bliss. She was invited to perform in and co-curate the event, Frankenstein 200: 4 Women at the Villa Diodati, as part of the El Camino College’s award-winning program, “Art of Science/Science of Art,” created by Betty L. Sedor.

She is a producer and writer (episode ‘Where Did All the Color Go?’) on the award-winning digital series #HighlandPark. She is producer and co-creator of the award-winning documentary short series Overcomers, which was aired on PBS/WORLD Channel (Episode 1: Jasmine). The series was produced for the American Graduate initiative and made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NALIP. Gabriela also produced the pilot episode of the digital series she wrote and directed, Hoop Girls, an official selection and nominee at the 2017 Official Latino Short Film Festival (New York), based on her stage play. Hoop Girls was originally developed through TeAda Productions and Center Theatre Group, and was part of the [Inside] the Ford summer readings at the Ford Theatre. It had a full production at CASA 0101 Theatre in Los Angeles, a workshop production at Rutgers University in New Jersey, a reading by Amigos del REP at the San Diego Rep, and was part of Center Theater Group’s Boyle Heights Theater Tour in collaboration with CASA 0101 Theater. Her latest project to be released is the sci-fi short film she wrote and directed, Are You Still There?, also based on her stage play. Gabriela was included in Remezcla’s list of “10 Latino Filmmakers You Should Know.”

YaYa photo.jpg


Creative Consultant and Producer, THE JOY RIDE

J. andrea porras | yAyA is an independent Creative Capacity consultant, art curator working at the intersection of cultural, spiritual, civic & social engagement & are Artist/CoFounder: MA Series Arts (Non Profit) 2018 currently cultivating  with Bay Area American Indian Two Spirits as a creative CoPilot and Indigenous Justice as an advocate & Artist disruptor & centering Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons and their  Loved ones; through Performance, Theatre & Radio. As a queer, Two-Spirit curator Chicana of Coahuiltecan descent, they embody the wisdom and ways of their ancestors and future relatives alike. Porras is a film producer, interdisciplinary artist & practitioner; with over 25 years of experience in performance, organizing, facilitation, grant making, grant reviewing, philanthropy, and mentoring. Porras curates visual exhibitions & creates site specific installations, ritual performance estilo flor y canto. Porras earned their B.A. from California State University Sacramento, Theater Dance, and  Cultural Anthropology Departments, where they specialized in Black, Indigenous, and  Chicano/Theater, Dance & leadership. They focused on acting, improv movement, playwriting, producing, and photo & video documenting. They have studied, taught, performed, and have been a culture bearer in inter-tribal ceremonies, a dancer in the Afro-Cuban, Danza Mexika & Black Contemporary concert dance traditions predominantly connecting and building in Northern California across the Southwest and later in Cuba, Mexico, Africa, and New York. yAyA works between Nisenan, Yelamu (occupied Ramaytush Ohlone land/San Francisco) and Huichin (occupied Lisjan Ohlone land/Oakland).

Arts Administration: Porras is a former Arts Grant Specialist for the California Arts Council, where they managed a portfolio totaling approximately $9 million in funding per year. They began their arts administrative work with the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, where they served as the Education & Outreach manager and later Co-founded, Directed, and Facilitated a Roots, Altars, and Movement course at World Arts Space in Sacramento CA. 


Philanthropic focus: Porras co-founded Movimiento Molcajete (1997) Contemporary Indigenous Teatro Co. & MA Series Arts (2018), a 501c3 non-profit MA Series Arts nonprofit 2018: dedicated to supporting  performance, research & practice by women & queers of color, honoring the full spectrum of  cultural and gender identities.


Teaching Artist, CIW

Sigrid Gilmer makes black comedies that are historically bent, totally perverse, joyfully irreverent and are concerned with issues of identity, pop culture and contemporary American society. Her work has been performed at the Skylight Theatre, Pavement Group, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Roots and Wings Project and Highways Performance Space. She is a winner of the Map Fund Creative Exploration Grant, the James Irving Foundation Fellowship and is a USA Ford Fellow in Theatre. Sigrid is a facilitator of our writing program I LOVE MYSELF GOLDEN at California Institution for Women in Chino.

BOARD of directors

Jesse Bliss (cropped).jpg


Founder and Artistic Director, The Roots and Wings Project

Tomas Benitez.jpg


Development Director, Plaza de la Raza

Eduardo Espinoza.jpg


Senior Project Manager, EAH Housing

Kiera Newsome.jpg


Advocate, Innocence Project

bottom of page