Note: Mimi wrote this about a year before her death. We keep it here to honor her and because it expresses so well her perspective and her wishes for the future of Bread & Roses.
Since its founding in 1974, Bread & Roses has remained faithful to its original mission: using the power of performing arts to uplift the human spirit. How we do this is simple in concept, but challenging to deliver. We provide free, live, quality entertainment to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society. I recently heard from a program director at one of the facilities we serve:
"Our group ´comes alive´ when a Bread & Roses entertainer comes to play for us . . . Bread & Roses is a wonderful organization because they bring joy and happiness to people that are invisible to most of society." -Barbara Noble, Senior Access - Senior Day Care
In the process, we also touch the souls of those who make the show go on - performers, volunteer hosts, institutional employees, and the donors who support and understand that life requires both Bread & Roses.
I would never have dreamed that what began as one free concert at a halfway house would blossom into a nationally-recognized, award-winning organization. We now present over 500 free, live performances every year for children, youth and adults in hospitals, recovery centers, convalescent homes, shelters, AIDS treatment facilities, prisons and other institutions. This work is accomplished because of the generous commitment of over 1,000 performers as well as over 100 other volunteers who help present Bread & Roses shows. The magic of these performances is what touches the hearts of our audiences. Performing artists witness the impact they have on their Bread & Roses audiences. Here is how one performer expresses it:
"Thank you so much for the opportunity to perform for Bread & Roses . . . Last night´s show was truly amazing . . . if I ever had a doubt about my career in music . . . it´s moments like these that make it all worthwhile . . . and everything makes sense . . . it affirms my existence . . . I want to bottle the moment and take it with me wherever I go . . . for the rest of my life . . ."
-Natalia, lead vocalist of the band "Hope Child" after a performance at Daytop, a drug and alcohol rehab facility for teens.
I take great pride in having had a hand in shaping this opportunity for both audience and performer.
In the 25 years since we began bringing shows into institutions, we have reached tens of thousands of isolated Bay Area residents. In doing so, we have created a social awareness of this "hidden society". That awareness has inspired other communities throughout the United States to build local organizations with missions similar to that of Bread & Roses. Although I am now retired from the day to day business of Bread & Roses, I have left behind what I believe is an enduring organization of talented volunteers, a strong board and a dedicated staff. I have every confidence that Bread & Roses will continue to serve the Bay Area with the professional integrity and human kindness that have been the hallmark of our work for the last 25 years. I know we are prepared to meet the increased demand for our services with more shows of ever-increasing quality. I welcome Cassandra Flipper, our new executive director, and wish her the best in leading the organization to the goals we have set forth.
Mimi Fariña, Founder