Amy Duarte began her career as an artist working for Walt Disney Animation Studios. From there, she leapt into the world of visual effects and graphic arts on more than 30 feature films like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, The Amazing Spiderman, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, etc. She was appointed as a lead artist for several shows, including Fantastic Four, where she advised and guided a team of artists on creating the special effects of Jessica Alba’s character (Sue Storm).
Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, and raised in three different countries, she is hearing-impaired and is fluent in multiple languages. She was also on the design team that created the top secret commercial for Apple’s Watch before the product was launched. Her portfolio can be viewed at www.amyduarte.com.
Kathy Nimmer is the 2015 Indiana Teacher of the Year and a finalist for 2015 National Teacher of the Year. She received the Dollywood Foundation’s Chasing Rainbows award, the NFB’s Blind Educator of the Year Award, and the Hasbrook Award, a lifetime achievement honor sponsored by Bosma Industries. Among other previous honors, she was named Sagamore of the Wabash in 2014, the highest civilian honor in Indiana. Through a Lilly Teacher Fellowship, Kathy wrote and published an anthology called Two Plus Four Equals One: Celebrating the Partnership of People with Disabilities and Their Assistance Dogs (2010). This followed a book of poetry called Minutes in the Dark, Eternity in the Light (2006). Kathy taught English at Harrison High School in West Lafayette for twenty-eight years and currently serves as the mentorship program leader for new educators in Tippecanoe School Corporation. She is also a frequent motivational speaker at local, state, and national events. Kathy earned her BA in English Education from Trinity Christian College in 1991 and her MA from Purdue University in 1992. Her life is grounded in faith, family, friendship, and creativity.
Specialist in Human Resources in the Department of Defense, activist, Susan G. Komen Foundation Ambassador, and super Colts fan.
Laura Alvarado has over twenty years’ non-profit experience serving a variety of underserved communities in both Indiana and Arizona.
As the Executive Director of the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation since 2016, Laura brings her passion for connecting and bringing communities together to create both voluntary and financial impact to programs serving children with visual impairments throughout Indiana. In 2018, the foundation was awarded over $1 million through a highly competitive grant, Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation grant, from Lilly Endowment Inc. to create, implement, and sustain No Limits programming, an arts series focused on access for all. Her leadership throughout the years has earned both individual and organizational recognition and awards including being elected a member of the Blueprint Council, the governing board of the city’s Continuum of Care focused on housing and services for the homeless in 2014; the Blueprint Champion Award for School on Wheels from the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention in 2009; the Excellence in Education Award from the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office in 2006; the Indiana Youth Institute Achievement Award in 2005; Congressional recognition from former Indiana State Representative, the late Julia Carson, in 2005 for the Indianapolis Art Center; and a nomination for the Arizona Governor’s
Arts Award in 2003 for ARTability.
Ms. Pickering is the founder and artistic director for Flutter Productions, an all-ability dance theatre company at Black Hills Works. She holds a MFA in Acting and Directing from the University of Wisconsin, a BA in Theatre from Colorado State University and a BS in Secondary Education from Chadron State College. Most recently she worked on a three-year evaluation, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, in partnership with the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Department of Disabilities on the effects and benefits of all-ability arts with individuals with disabilities as the center of a nexus that includes: community members, audience members, volunteers, and staff. She has also been a grant recipient from the National Endowments for the Arts while working as the Education and Outreach Director for Black Hills Community Theatre. She was named one of the top 50 Artists to Watch in the State of South Dakota by the South Dakota State Arts Council in 2017. She has worked both onstage and behind the scenes for organizations such as: The Guthrie, The Children’s Theatre of Madison, The Georgia Shakespeare Festival, The Post Playhouse, Up With People, Storybook Island Children’s Theatre (Director 2008 –2012), Outright Dance Theatre, and Black Hills Community Theatre. She was the recipient for the National Community Building Award from the ANCOR Foundation in 2011. To view her portfolio you may visit: www.heatherpickering.com. For additional information on Flutter Productions visit: www.flutterproductions.com