leaders of equality through arts and performance

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Join the Pioneer Winter Collective for Leaders of Equality Through Arts and Performance (LEAP), the Collective's queer youth arts initiative. LEAP is a free weekend summit for LGBTQIA+ high schoolers and their youth allies. This Summit will include workshops, panels, and networking with Miami's activists and leaders. Topics include racial justice, local equality politics, health disparities, depression and mental health, and youth homelessness. Participants will receive community service hours, free lunch and snacks, as well as the opportunity to grow as leaders. 

This 2nd Annual Summit will take place Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22, 2018 at O Cinema Wynwood. Both days begin promptly at 10:00 am and end at 5:00 pm. Participants are encouraged to arrive beginning at 9:30 am both days.

We encourage you to register early to ensure your spot by filling out the below quick form!

Name *
Phone *
Ex: They/Them/Theirs or He/Him/His or She/Her/Hers, if you prefer a mix of pronouns, etc.
I can commit to attending BOTH summit days (Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22). Please note, priority registration is given only to participants who can attend BOTH summit days.
Leadership *
I consider myself a leader in my school and/or community.
You will be provided with free lunch on both days of the summit. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions (if you are vegan, vegetarian, etc.) so we make sure to have food that you will love to eat!
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Youth Testimonials

...not only were we educated on important topics such as becoming a better leader and local LGBT sociopolitical history, but all participants were brought together and remained in contact after. As a member of the LGBT+ community, my experience with LEAP provides me with the tools to become an effective leader.
— Giovani, c/o 2019
It’s kind of funny because I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to come to the LEAP Summit, but I’m glad I did. I was just expecting to network in a very conventional sense and apply things mechanically to my life. But the stuff we’ve been doing - it’s not, like, mechanical at all and it feels very dynamic and very organic. I know when I get home...I’m like WOAH and the fact that it’s impactful in the sense that it’s thought-provoking and making me feel something...that’s the best part.
— Angie, c/o 2018
I have been passionate about LGBTQ+ rights for a long time, and I’ve heard some of the most insightful reflections about the community and activism from queer and trans* youth. Unfortunately, most of us do not have an opportunity to be heard. LEAP has given me, and many other LGBTQ+ teens, a platform to not just be heard, but understood. It is a powerful feeling to hold the attention of an audience with nothing but your words.
— Hunter, c/o 2018
...one of the things that I’ve noticed...I love it when people come out of their shell and expose themselves - even when we were all shy on the first day - taking that risk and being involved, and vulnerable to other people - to strangers that become their friends. It’s something that is extraordinary. I can say leaving today that I have spent my time with people I respect and people I admire.
— Lucas, c/o 2016
When I joined LEAP, I had not had much interaction with kids my own age for a couple months due to my being homeschooled after being bullied often. Now, I am Vice President of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Coral Gables Sr. High, and I am comfortable in my own skin. [LEAP] has been a constant that has helped my though difficult periods in my life. Though the ups and down, art has provided a needed, vital outlet where I felt I could express myself [...] I will really miss my time in LEAP, but I will forever be grateful for the interpersonal lessons and emotional intelligence I garnered there.
— Camilo, c/o 2015


Leaders of Equality through Arts and Performance (LEAP) is a queer youth interdisciplinary theater initiative by the Pioneer Winter Collective - dedicated to equality, social justice, and the transformative power of the arts.

Pioneer Winter Collective’s programming has allowed the opportunity to further the approach that the arts may be appreciated for more than aesthetics alone—and that the arts are a powerful vehicle of social and political change.

Youth previously without the means to learn the performing arts and receive mentoring are now deeply invested in both the process and performance of art-as-activism. LEAP students are graduating and moving on to prestigious colleges and conservatories – some in the arts, and some in other areas. Other LEAP participants are active members in their high schools’ Gay-Straight Alliances and have brought theater and dance back to their own schools by spearheading after school clubs and assisting in stage productions.

LEAP teens benefit from individualized attention. The director communicates directly with each teen's high school Sexual Minority Counselor, Trust Counselor, mentor, or teaching artist. This open communication is key to their safety and happiness, and getting the most out of the program. PWC has a rapport with Pridelines as a satellite space, and teens requiring services know where to go - a zero-attrition/nobody-falls-through-the-cracks approach. Last cycle's teaching artists included Octavio Campos, Pioneer Winter, and Marie Whitman, along with ten guest artists.

Even adjusted youth with support from social networks and strong home life face crisis when freedom of expression is inaccessible. Opportunities for local LGBTQ/allied youth to perform and share their creativity is rare in the community. This project is unique because participants are guided through sessions meant to build on their talents - expanding from the baseline. Current research suggests facilitating youth in this demographic through performance-based programming helps develop identity. While it is known that LGBTQ youth face extensive adversity and potential risk factors, queer-centered theater programs outside of Florida provide interesting models for fostering social change and improved self-confidence.

LEAP is made possible with the generous support of the GLBT Community Projects Fund (National LGBTQ Task Force through The Miami Foundation) and the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.

LEAP Interns lead workshop in partnership with lotus house women's shelter - september 2, 2017

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LEAP interns lead workshop in partnership with lotus house women's shelter - july 1, 2017

leap community workshops in partnership with save - june 3, 2017

Pioneer Winter Collective's LEAP program partnered with service organization SAVE for two workshops that aimed to promote community awareness and togetherness. Both of the workshops offered were open to the public in order to facilitate an environment that encouraged intergenerational and intercultural dialogue and empowerment.


10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  • History of LGBT Politics: Learn about the political history of the LGBT movement, what's really at stake with the new administration, and how to take action.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

  • Break

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Trans Ally Training: This training is for cis-gender people to advance their understanding of gender, and become stronger allies for the trans community.

About SAVE
South Florida's longest serving LGBTQ rights and advocacy organization. Safeguarding American Values for Everyone since 1993. The mission of SAVE is to promote, protect, and defend equality for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. [www.save.lgbt]

leap summit: youth leaders for equality - March 24-26, 2017

Join the Pioneer Winter Collective for Leaders of Equality Through Arts and Performance (LEAP), the Collective's queer youth arts initiative. LEAP is a free weekend summit for LGBTQ+ high schoolers. It will be an educational and interactive conference made up of panels, workshops, film screenings, and more. Registration is now closed. 

live performance documentation

success stories

still images

teaching artists

marie whitman

Marie Whitman is a poet, performer, teaching artist, curator, and artist director with twenty-five years of eclectic experience. She is the founder of Eat Your Poem™, a poetry outreach project which seeks to spread light, life, hope and wholeness through the Poetic Word. Marie was the February 2015 recipient of the FEAST Miami Artist Award Grant for a program which brings Poetry readings, spoken word performance and writing workshops into women's shelters, homeless shelters and recovery centers.

As a Performance Artist, Marie has been commissioned by Miami Design District's Site Specific Performance Series where she presented interdisciplinary work of original spoken word, movement and visual installation within the historic Moore Building.  Her performance work has also been presented at MOCA in North Miami and through Williamsburg Arts Nexus at Triskelion Arts in New York City and Miami Beach Cinematheque. Marie recently performed her spoken word with internationally acclaimed Italian Pianists Davide and Daniele Trivell, while working with the Dranoff Foundation’s Piano Slam Program. In March of 2015, Marie curated, directed and performed in “Turning Pages: Offerings of Dance & Poetry” presented at RIFT Blackbox Theater where she spearheaded a cast of five dancers who presented movement, dance theater and poetry woven with spoken word and short film. Marie participated in the 2014 MDC Live Arts Lab where she received a full scholarship to work with New York City based Master Instructor, Theater and Hip Hop Artist, Baba Israel. The Lab culminated in a performance at Teatro Prometeo where Marie debuted her performance work-in-progress “Slip.” Marie also worked with Choreographer, Pioneer Winter and is a part of his highly acclaimed dance theater piece Mother-Son(Days).

Marie is an accomplished Teaching Artist and an active member of The Broward Cultural Council’s Arts in Education Coalition (AIE). AIE is a prestigious organization of professional Teaching Artists selected through a stringent application process and chosen based on their knowledge, experience, skill and achievements. As a Teaching-Artist-In-Residence with Memorial Health Care's New Day Program, she presented Poetry and Dance workshops and performances to at-risk youth and under-served populations. In collaboration with Christina G Smith Community Mental Health, she presented creative writing workshops to young people experiencing emotional or behavioral challenges. She has also taught for the Dranoff Foundation’s Piano Slam, Fort Lauderdale Public Library, LEAP (Leaders of Equality through Arts and Performance), and the YMCA’S Youth Force Program. She presented Dance & Creative Movement Workshops for the Very Special Arts Festival in North Carolina working with youth with disabilities.

Marie’s dance and movement background includes study on scholarship with the Isadora Duncan Dance Foundation in NYC, the Martha Graham School and intensives in Skinner Releasing and Movement Improvisation with Stephanie Skura in Seattle. She worked with the nationally acclaimed Isadora Duncan Company as a Dance Coordinator. She was responsible for auditioning, selecting and rehearsing children to perform in the South Florida performances of the Company’s national touring production on the life of Isadora Duncan. She has danced with Dance Esaias in Miami, for choreographer Ana Miranda and has provided choreography and movement coaching for recording artists on both RCA and the BMG Nashville record labels. Marie has taught for countless community dance programs and studios in New York, North Carolina and South Florida.

Marie has been commissioned to write for countless individuals and organizations such as National Young Arts Foundation, Hyundai, Neiman Marcus and PROWD (Parents Raising Offspring with Disabilities). Currently, Marie’s poetry outreach program is in residence at Women in Distress in Broward County and Camillus House in Miami. She is the author of a book of verse entitled Signs and Wonders and is working on her second book due to be released in January 2016.

octavio campos

Octavio Campos is a Miami-born Cuban-American dance theater artist. He studied dance and composition at the State University of New York at Purchase, Martha Graham School, Folkwang Schule of Pina Bausch, Lincoln Center Director's Lab, and an alumnus of the Creative Capital Professional Development Program. His has created and performed in theaters and opera houses throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America. He has collaborated within the works of Robert Wilson, Birgitta Trommler, Philip Glass, Los Carpinteros, Honeygunlabs, Vivienne Newport, Stephanie Ansin, and Rosie Herrera. Campos has received countless awards, residencies and grants namely at the Berliner Theater Treffen, In-Habit International Residency Australia, Miami-Dade Choreographic Fellowship, Florida Arts Council Interdisciplinary Fellowship, MANCC Residency, Miami New Times’ 100 Creatives - MasterMind Award, named Best Choreographer/Performance Artist and venue by Miami New Times, SunPost, Miami Herald and most recently a 2013 Resident Artist at Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City.

He has given master classes, workshops and classes worldwide, notably at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Sydney, Australia) Florida Dance Festival, Catholic University Belgium, Centro Cultural Lima, Frankfurt Schule de Darstellender Kunst, The Theater Offensive, St. Petersburg Music Hall (Russia), Pridelines Youth Services, Homestead Correctional Institute for Women, and New World School of the Arts. He is the founding artistic director of the interdisciplinary non-profit organization Camposition, whose productions and programs have been supported and presented by the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Light Project, Knight Foundation, Miami Foundation, Florida Dance Festival, Tigertail Productions, Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Miami Beach Cultural Council, Florida Arts Council, Miami International Performance Festival, Edge Zones, PS 122, The Theater Offensive, Here NYC, Dixon Place, Diverse Works, Highways Performance, MACLA, Revolt, the Kennedy Center, and the National Performance Network.

current interns

Emilio Gutierrez

Emilio Gutierrez is a fabulous and spontaneous senior, who currently attends Coral Gables Senior High School. His passions include acting, dancing, fashion design, modeling, and photography post-production (even if it is only for his Instagram). He enjoys participating in improv shows, and is a member of Coral Gables' Thespian Troupe 0476. Emilio was part of the SWA (Sistas with Attitude) Step Team and has performed often. Emilio is focused on building a career that involves all his interests. He is working on creating a fashion line, and using social media to promote equality and raise awareness of issues that particularly effect the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.

giovani terry

Giovani Terry is currently a high school student in Miami-Dade County with a deep passion for art, especially the visual arts. He has received awards for both his poetry and visual artwork - the latter has been included in an exhibit at Florida International University's Wolfsonian Museum in Miami Beach. Giovani has also received many academic awards such as the President’s Award for Academic Excellence. He is a National Honors Society member and his school’s Gay-Straight Alliance representative through which he reaches out to LGBTQ+ organizations to seek out collaboration and volunteer opportunities. In addition to attending a school for the arts, where he's exposed to theater performance and music while fine-tuning his visual art skills, Giovani is also learning to use these to better engage others regarding prevalent social issues in our society in a way that connects people and community. Giovani is especially focused on working with other teenagers in the LGBTQ+ community.

former interns

Hunter Huseby

Hunter Huseby is a junior attending iPreparatory Academy in Downtown Miami. She has been involved with Leaders of Equality through Arts and Performance (LEAP) for two years, and helped realize LEAP's 1st Annual Summit: Youth Leaders for Equality. Hunter performs spoken word, and she is focused mainly on LGBTQ+ rights and gender equality in her poetry. She identifies as bisexual and has a passion for LGBTQ+ rights. Hunter is the president of iPreparatory's SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance) and she strives to promote education and acceptance in her school.


Kenmel Guzman is a passionate, emerging artist and currently attends Coral Gables Senior High. Kenmel loves to create vivid artwork that brings focus to social issues that are often overlooked. Kenmel involves himself in the community and strives to connect with organizations to create community events in Greater Miami. Kenmel has had the opportunity to work with American Red Cross, Rotary Club, and Miami Dolphins to create projects that serve communities both in and out of Florida, including hurricane relief and holiday giving events. When Kenmel is not working on projects or volunteering in social justice activities, he loves to talk about cats.


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