We had the good fortune of connecting with Dabrina Sandifer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dabrina, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always been a self-starter with an entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. I’ve thought and started various ventures during my time. Founding an arts based entity was a thought here and there. I was managing an art gallery/event space in the Montrose area and the owners abruptly decided to dissolve the gallery after getting a lucrative offer to lease the space. I was out of a job as well having to let go of incredible exhibitions, some of which I was set to curate, that I was looking forward to. Due to that and a series of experiences leading up to that moment, I decided I would not experience that again. I wanted to create something that provided quality product (productions, exhibitions, entertainment for private & corporate events, youth programming, professional development for artists, coaching services) while also providing a space for artists or various ages, levels, and art disciplines to develop & network while also providing opportunities that were desired/needed. I also wanted to provide a space that further uplifted under represented stories, tied in advocacy through the arts, etc. Was I prepared as in having savings or funds set aside to handle start up expenses, etc.? No! But sometimes, you just have to go for it. It happened when and how it was suppose to.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Sure! My primary work is in storytelling via theatre, film, and poetry. I also curate visual art exhibitions. What sets me apart of my versatility as well as the fact that I am multi-disciplinary. I am most proud of the fact that art chose me. It is very much so a large part of purpose and life’s work. Also, my radio show/podcast entitled “Dark Mondays with Dabrina Sandifer” on allrealradio.com. It’s arts & community centered airing Mondays at 4:30 pm (CST). Definitely one of the highlights of each week for me. Also, we have an amazing co-production with Mildred’s Umbrella entitled ” Femfest: Black Women’s Voices” streaming December 9-20, 2020. We’re filming live on an outdoor stage, editing, and streaming in early December. I’ve curated six plays of various lengths written six wonderful playwrights from throughout the country who are also Black women. The subjects range from metaphysical elements to futuristic, to historical, to the virtual correspondence that is now our new normal, to side shows, to the wonderful (or not so much) world of dating, and more. Ah! I’m so excited to see what the directors and actors do with the pieces. I got here by trusting my instincts, which has been a process. Also, by believing in my gift, developing an increased will to give myself a chance by just trying, not waiting for anyone’s permission or invitation to implement my art or ideas, and being afraid…yet going for it anyway. We all owe ourselves that. It absolutely has not been easy. It is still is not easy. Maintaining a solid sense of self as well as maintaining connection with a tribe i.e. other beings who “get” me, speak my language, understand & shield my heart, tell me the truth, etc. have been essential. Sometimes, that tribe may feel like one person or many. Sometimes, it is simply connecting to spirit. I have learned countless lessons. One of the most valuable has been to listen to gut while having the balance of ensuring that whatever’s coming up isn’t rooted in fear, trauma, etc. That is key. I want the world to know that I am a student of life who is either foolish enough to make my & others dreams reality or brave enough to make the absolute most out of this one shot at this thing called life. My brand is committed to positive & impactful change serving as a storm of sorts to uproot things, examine, and clear a path for greatness to grow. Regarding my story…so, as an aside, I am the oldest child. Due to an accident when she was younger, my mother was told she’d never have children. My birth was…challenging. We both almost didn’t make it. Medical staff repeatedly told my parents they could always try for another child, etc. I have been fighting since before my first breath. I was counted out during every step of progress and doctors thought I’d possibly have learning disabilities, etc. To make a long story short, I defied all of that somehow. So, my story is one of the “impossible”. The under dog. The unexpected. Tenacity, faith, and fate.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
What a fun question! We’re still in the midst of COVID, but there are still safe options. Definitely check out Briarbend Park. It’s so beautiful and like a mini retreat away the city within the city. We could drive a little beyond the city to visit Quintana Beach. For food, there are so many options. Shiva in Rice Village has yummy Indian food at great prices. Soul Food by Catherine is nice. Downhome feel without an over abundance of grease, salt, etc. Pappadeaux and certainly Taco Cabana lol. Besides that, I’d cook because that’s something I enjoy especially for loved ones. I’d maybe make a seafood gumbo, New Orlean’s style bbq shrimp, garlic pepper chicken wings, brussels sprouts, my famous turkey burgers on a pretzel bun, Praline & Pecan pound cake, banana pudding, strawberry cobbler, cinnamon pound cake, etc. For breakfast, we may make it light with fresh juices or smoothies. All depending on the season, their preferences, etc. We’d also maybe check out a place where could race cars and play air hockey. We’d also check out the Flamingo Chill for delicious Raspas (Snow Cones) and nostalgic snacks. We’d also visit Montrose. the Third Ward, and East End. There’s always something interesting and fun to be found in those areas.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My Great Grandmother, Ruthie, for always telling me to keep going and don’t look back. Jennifer Decker for nominating me for this opportunity. Everyone of my tribe in spirit, love, and will.
Instagram: @esurientarts and @showdarkmondays
Facebook: @Dabrina Sandifer and @esurienttheater
Other: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Pin Lim (photo of me in blue jean top sitting on a porch) Rudy Mui ( event pic with Esurient Arts projected onto the wall and pic of me sitting next to the lady with a head wrap on) Dabrina Sandifer (pic of me in the hat) JS (pic of me on Dark Mondays graphic)” to “Pin Lim (blue jean top) Rudy Mui ( event pic and two women seated) Dabrina Sandifer (selfie) JS (photo for Dark Mondays graphic)