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White Snake Projects Inc.

 280 Lee Street
 Brookline , MA 02445
[P] (617) 3184261
[F] --
www.whitesnakeprojects.org
[email protected]
Georgia Lyman
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 2008
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 26-2176762

LAST UPDATED: 01/04/2019
Organization DBA White Snake Projects
Former Names Friends of Madame White Snake (2008)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

White Snake Projects is an entrepreneurial startup whose mission is the creation of original opera of the highest production values combined with social activism. Like our namesake, the legendary White Snake demon who becomes human to live intensely, we transform present day experiences into new opera made in America. Founded by iconoclasts, Charles & Cerise Jacobs, Cerise has continued the mission of the White Snake after Charles' death by investing in American composers musically adept at telling myth-based stories living in our collective imaginations. Part of our credo of social activism is to make our art accessible to all. We open our doors to one and all by committing one-third of all seats to diverse and underserved communities.
 

Mission Statement

White Snake Projects is an entrepreneurial startup whose mission is the creation of original opera of the highest production values combined with social activism. Like our namesake, the legendary White Snake demon who becomes human to live intensely, we transform present day experiences into new opera made in America. Founded by iconoclasts, Charles & Cerise Jacobs, Cerise has continued the mission of the White Snake after Charles' death by investing in American composers musically adept at telling myth-based stories living in our collective imaginations. Part of our credo of social activism is to make our art accessible to all. We open our doors to one and all by committing one-third of all seats to diverse and underserved communities.
 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $870,000.00
Projected Expense $860,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Community Outreach
  • Permadeath; a video game opera
  • Ticket Access Program (TAP)

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

White Snake Projects is an entrepreneurial startup whose mission is the creation of original opera of the highest production values combined with social activism. Like our namesake, the legendary White Snake demon who becomes human to live intensely, we transform present day experiences into new opera made in America. Founded by iconoclasts, Charles & Cerise Jacobs, Cerise has continued the mission of the White Snake after Charles' death by investing in American composers musically adept at telling myth-based stories living in our collective imaginations. Part of our credo of social activism is to make our art accessible to all. We open our doors to one and all by committing one-third of all seats to diverse and underserved communities.
 

Background Statement

There is no more effective tool for cross-cultural understanding than cultural immersion through music, drama and dance. In 2007, the Friends of Madame White Snake (now White Snake Projects) began to forge alliances with Boston community groups for outreach and education programs to build bridges between the Asian and mainstream American communities through multicultural projects.

White Snake Projects was instrumental in raising the money to fund their first multicultural project with Opera Boston, Madame White Snake, a new American opera based on the ancient Chinese Legend of the White Snake, and to sponsor its tour to the Beijing Music Festival. Madame White Snake premiered in Boston and Beijing in 2010 and won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Music for its composer, Zhou Long.

Building on the success of Madame White Snake, White Snake Projects is now embarking on an ambitious five year commissioning program to create new American opera based on original stories by Cerise Jacobs, to Boston’s mainstage. This project kicked off in 2016 with OUROBOROS Trilogy which comprises three operas - Madame White Snake, Naga and Gilgamesh. It premiered at the Cutler Majestic Theater on September 10, 2016 to great excitement and acclaim. As part of OUROBOROS’ activities, the Friends of Madame White Snake held libretti readings by local celebrities in Boston’s Chinatown and hosted a concert and lecture on the Ouroboros at the Boston Athenaeum.

2017 brought REV. 23, a farcical hellish opera which traverses hell, paradise-on-earth and everywhere in between. White Snake Projects hosted community events involving discussion of concepts of good and evil, heaven and hell in Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.

We are grateful for our past collaborations with Opera Boston, Arts Emerson, New England Conservatory, Beth Morrison Projects, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the Boston Mayor’s Office, the City of Hangzhou, China, Boston Children’s Museum, Boston University Music Department, the Brookline Public Library, and Primary Source. We continue to renew old alliances and forge new ones. We are proud to be collaborating today with Becker College, Rhode Island School of Design, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Lesley College, Boston Lyric Opera, Celebrity Series, New England Conservatory, Boston Baroque, Boston Midsummer Opera, and many others.


Impact Statement

Top 4 accomplishments in 2017:
1. Access:  WSP initiated our Total Access Program (TAP) which ensures that one-third of all our tickets are given to underserved communities to great success. We partnered with several community programs to increase outreach.  We had a diverse audience from all ethnicities and income levels and CHILDREN - we had children running up and down the aisles and youth cheering and whistling. We have already generated substantial interest from new partners for 2018.
2.  Artistic Excellence:  Cerise Jacobs, Executive Producer of WSP and Creator and Librettist, was listed as one of 2017's Movers & Shakers by Musical America, a national organization of music organizations.  After 2 full seasons and 4 original new operas, our innovation and artistic excellence is being recognized nationally.
3.  Touring: WSP has been invited by the prestigious Hong Kong Arts Festival to bring Madame White Snake, its Pulitzer Prize winning opera by Chinese American composer, Zhou Long, to their 2019 festival.  We've also been invited to present REV. 23 at the 2020 Prototype Festival.  These opportunities to tour prove the artistic quality of our work.
4. Recognition by granting agencies:  We received our first NEA grant for our 2018 production.
Top 3 goals for 2018:
1. Access:  Growing TAP to reach more underserved communities.  One such community we're making a big commitment to are people with disabilities.  We're planning forums, panels and art exhibits highlighting the art of people with disabilities in conjunction with the world premiere of PermaDeath, our 2018 opera, which features a protagonist who is in a wheelchair.  We hope to begin a vibrant discussion of representation in the arts, and to encourage this community to come to our shows.
2. Maintaining Artistic Excellence: To continue to maintain the standards of excellence that have brought us national recognition.
4. New Works: Commissioning new works from American Artists

Needs Statement

Top 5 needs:
1. Currently we are in production for our 2018 opera Permadeath; a video game opera, which is tech heavy. Additional funds are needed for more tech R&D, and to support our community partnerships, including our inaugural accessibility program which includes community conversations and panels surrounding representation in the arts and artists with disability.
 2. Our 2019 opera is an artistic response to the current immigration tragedy, entitled, "I Am A Dreamer Who No Longer Dreams."  We will need resources to fund community programming on a myriad immigration topics, including the breakup of families, due process, chain migration, DACA etc.
3. Resources to continue and expand TAP to reach more underserved communities.
4.WSP is rapidly expanding, both in premiering works and offers for touring productions.  Additional resources would be needed to bring the new work we've developed and created to other cities and countries.  
5. We work on a project-by-project basis.  Infrastructure support is critical if we are to grow professionally. We could expand our core team, create strong management and solid financial planning.  Currently, all our financial resources is deployed on the artistic/production end.  This is our most pressing need.

CEO Statement

White Snake Projects' artistic mission is integrally bound up with its commitment to social activism.  There is a renaissance in the field of contemporary opera right now - WSP is front and center in this renaissance - but with a difference.  While most new opera today is "derivative", i.e., adaptations of existing books, play, movies, etc or biopics of famous people, our operas are all original, creating new mythology and stories of and for our times.  We believe that as an art form, opera has to innovate, and while some of the adaptations being produced are great works, we need new stories which are inspired by the issues which both inspire and depress us today.  One advantage of making new stories is that we are able to address timely pressing social issues like immigration, climate change, accessibility, racial inequality, etc in language and stories that are relevant to us.  Making socially relevant art is a prime motivator for our artists and creatives.  But to be clear: we do not want to create didactic work, so the emphasis is on the artistic, but we need art to be relevant, walking a fine line between art and propaganda.  Out of our art emerges our community programs which engage our community in discussion about themes raised in our stories.
 
It is important to understand that we are a tiny company (see section on Management).  Boston has many small opera companies (Odyssey, MetroWest, Guerilla, Opera on Tap etc ) and one large company, Boston Lyric Opera.  None of the small companies do what we do, i.e., original innovative world premieres every year combined with community activism.  We are unique in our mission and our execution of that mission. 

Board Chair Statement

White Snake Projects, in its current iteration, is two years old.  We have an ad hoc board of founding members from the time we were The Friends of Madame White Snake (2008) which we're seriously rethinking.  Now that we've changed our name, our mission and "professionalized" our work with a dedicated team of professionals, we are working to build a new board of individuals who share our vision and our passions.  It will  be challenging to convert committed donors to board members who do more than write a check.  Ideally, we'd like our board members to support the organization financially as well as actively by recruiting other board members, helping to build our audience, participating in our community programming and volunteering as host families etc.  There are a myriad activities that a small start up company needs in addition to operating capital.  Our approach to building a new board is to involve current donors with company activities, such as being host families to our artists, attending programming we organize and one-on-one education on the problems we face and the solutions we need. 

Geographic Area Served

GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
WSP is based in Brookline, but our productions take place in downtown Boston. With our community outreach, we serve audiences from the entire Greater Boston area, including Roxbury, Cambridge, Chinatown, Roslindale, Brookline, Jamaica Plain. Dorchester, Malden, Somerville and Natick.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Opera
  2. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Alliances & Advocacy
  3. Public & Societal Benefit -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Community Outreach

This marks WSP's first foray into the accessibility world. Our protagonist in PermaDeath is a wheelchair user, and we are in talks with various partners to collaborate on open forums and panels on representation in the arts. We are also planning on holding a gallery of works created by artists with disabilities to showcase the diverse talent within the community.
Budget  $5,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Public Art Programs
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled People/Families with of People with Disabilities Families
Program Short-Term Success  We are currently implementing this program.  Short term success is the willingness of many community groups to participate, such as Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Lesley University's Threshold Program, the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities, ReelAblities etc.
Program Long-Term Success  We will  report on long term success when we next update this profile.
Program Success Monitored By  We plan to track audiences at our panels and forums through survey and questionaires.
Examples of Program Success  Examples would be audience members at our forums coming to the opera, positive feedback and the ability to take this program to the next stage.

Permadeath; a video game opera

Permadeath, our offering for 2018, is the world's first original video game opera. While there have been operas created around a video game before, we have created our own fictional game with original characters, game world and animation as an integral part of our storyline. With the latest in cutting edge technology, we aim to bring the 400-year old art form of opera to a new and broader audience, creating lifelong participants in the arts and culture world. 
Budget  $870,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Opera
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) People/Families with of People with Disabilities General/Unspecified
Program Short-Term Success 
We are now in the final stages of pre-production, including full animation of our digital world and testing of the FaceWare technology which will bring these characters to vivid life through the performances of our singers. 
At this point, our collaborations have been extremely successful, with RISD and Becker College incorporating our production into their curriculum to support the work.
We are generating support for our accessibility program, which focuses on conversations about representation as well as a gallery of visual art from artists with disabilities. These potential partners include the VSA, Lesley College's Threshold program and the Mayor's Commission of Persons with Disabilities. 
 We are currently ramping up for our booth at PAX East, the region's largest video game convention, where we will demo some of our technology and present a teaser of the music live during our panel. 
Program Long-Term Success 
We aim to bring the gaming community into the world of opera and "hook" them with our story telling, technology and animation. By leading them into a genre which they might consider old-fashioned, we open the door to future subscribers, patrons and enthusiasts of live performances.
We also hope to shine a light on the disability community and their lack of representation and begin the conversation on where the future might take this issue. 
Program Success Monitored By  We will monitor the success of this program by the number of new audiences garnered from PAX East and our community partners, including attracting a younger demographic and underserved communities such as the community of people with disabilities.  Tracking will include surveys and outreach 
Examples of Program Success  This will be determined by ticket sales, demographic surveys and audience feedback. We will also ask for letters of support from our various partners involved in both the creation of the work and our outreach programs.

Ticket Access Program (TAP)

As part of our social activism mission, WSP donates 1/3 of every house to underserved communities through partnerships with various community organizations across Boston. 
Budget  $20,000
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Opera
Population Served Families Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Other Economic Level
Program Short-Term Success  2017 was our first year with this program, and we found great success in our initial foray. Through community partners including the office of Ayanna Pressley, Boston Public Schools, The Fenway Alliance and the Roxbury Cultural District, we were able to offer tickets free of charge to approximately 500 audience members over 3 performances.  
Program Long-Term Success  We aim to serve as many people as possible to support their access to culture. This year we are specifically targeting the disability community through outreach with Lesley's Threshold program, the VSA and the Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities. This stems from our current opera, Permadeath, in which our protagonist is a wheelchair user.
Program Success Monitored By  Box Office demographics and post-show surveys.
Examples of Program Success  The audiences for REV. 23, our 2017 offering consisted of children (yes, CHILDREN), adolescents, and diverse people from the Brazilian, Chinese, African American and Hispanic communities.  Our patrons have commented and applauded us for this.  We have received many letters of support testifying to the fact that but for TAP, these audience members would never have come to an opera.  

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Even though we're a small start-up company with an ambitious goal of producing one original new opera a year, we firmly believe that our art must be engaged with our community.  Hence, every opera we produce has community activities exploring themes and issues that flow organically from the stories we tell.  This nexus between art and social activism is crucial to our identity and differentiates us from any other music/opera organization in the Greater Boston area.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Cerise Jacobs
CEO Term Start Jan 2016
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Cerise began her professional career, not as an arts professional, but as an attorney.  She was a trial partner at one of the largest law firms in New England - Goodwin Procter- with a law practice spanning almost 25 years.  She was sworn in as a citizen and an assistant US Attorney in 1988 and spent 5 years as a federal prosecutor as part of her commitment to public service.  She comes to White Snake Projects with a deep business, management and financial background with a network of resources that have been used to start this company.  She is a passionate consumer of the performing arts, in particular, opera.  The first opera she created with her husband, Charles, - Madame White Snake - won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Music for composer Zhou Long.  Cerise has been on the boards of many arts organizations and has been part of many fundraising campaigns.  Her business acumen has enabled the company to execute on its mission to produce and present one original new opera a year in Boston and to give one-third of the house to underserved communities.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Art Works Grant, 2018 for PermaDeath National Endowment for the Arts 2018
Classical Music's Mover & Shaper, Cerise Jacobs Musical America 2017
Pulitzer Prize in Music, Zhou Long Composer, Cerise Jacobs, Creator and Librettist Pulitzer 2011

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association MA

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

WSP relies on creative partnerships to survive and produce the most innovative work possible. This is the way we supplement our budget by in-kind donations of time, resources and expertise from our partners.

We are currently collaborating with several universities to produce Permadeath, including Becker College, Lesley University, RISD and New England Conservatory. We are also collaborating with the Brookline Public Library, VSA, the Mayor's Commission on Disabilities, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center and Lesley's Threshold Program on our Accessibility forums and panels.

In the past, WSP has collaborated with Arts Emerson, New England Conservatory, Beth Morrison Projects, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, the Boston Mayor’s Office, the City of Hangzhou, China, Boston Children’s Museum, Boston University Music Department, the Brookline Public Library, Primary Source, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Boston Lyric Opera, Celebrity Series, Boston Baroque, Boston Midsummer Opera, and many others.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our main challenges are training and strategic deployment of resources.  Being a small start up, it's important we professionalize our staff to be stronger administratively, including fundraising and financial planning.  We also need to be able to work smart and creatively, making do with limited resources to create original art and programming.  We address this with on the job training, mentoring and brainstorming sessions as well as continuing education courses.  Concomitantly, we have the advantage, because we're small, to turn on a dime and create art responsive to the social needs of our times.

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 2
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit No
State Registration No

Risk Management Provisions

Commercial General Liability
Workers Compensation and Employers' Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? No
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Hsui-Lan Chang
Board Chair Company Affiliation Board Chair
Board Chair Term Jan 2008 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Hsiu-Lan Chang Chair Voting
Pirate Epstein Clerk Voting
Cerise Jacobs CEO, Co-Founder Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 5
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria Under Development
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 14%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

White Snake Projects was formed in 2016 as a reconstituted organization formerly The Friends of Madame White Snake.  We reorganized to focus the organization's mission as a production company of original opera and a strategic plan of producing one such opera a year combined with social activism.  The board members are the founding members of the original Friends of Madame White Snake.  As we gain more traction, we intend to review our board composition and bring on new members who align with our current mission.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $870,000.00
Projected Expense $860,000.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2009 Form 990

2008 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $100,578 $26,183 $117,776
Total Expenses $7,584 $769 $200,966

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $106,350 $26,170 $117,763
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- $13
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $-5,783 -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $11 $13 --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $7,584 $769 $192,881
Administration Expense -- -- $2,038
Fundraising Expense -- -- $6,047
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 13.26 34.05 0.59
Program Expense/Total Expenses 100% 100% 96%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 5%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $115,886 $35,361 $9,947
Current Assets $115,886 $6,788 $9,947
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $16,104 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $99,782 $35,361 $9,947

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 7.20 -- --

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

White Snake Projects is funded predominantly by a private foundation -The Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation.  We have begun to expand our funding sources by applying for grants and cultivating a donor base.  We received our first National Endowment for the Arts Atworks grant this year and our donor base is solidifying.  We continue to hold events to educate and inspire our audience and supporters.

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

White Snake Projects aims to change contemporary opera in several ways to make it more inclusive.  Opera has an elitist reputation, mostly deserved.  It is expensive, derives from a predominantly white, 18th century, male culture which unabashedly indulges in cultural and gender appropriation.  On the other hand, it produces moments of intense artistry when theater, spectacle, music and the natural voice combine in perfection.  To attack the problem of lack of inclusiveness, we have to change the model.
1.  Relevance:  We have to make opera relevant.  It's not enough to dress up a 19th century  piece in modern attire.  We actually have to create new pieces that speak to the issues now in language we understand.  We create original opera that tell socially relevant stories and commission American composers adept at telling such stories.  Our commissioned works meld classical, jazz, blues and rock music - a reflection of the culture we live in.
2. Originality:  We cannot continue to adapt existing books, movies or plays, or create biopics of famous people as new opera is wont to do.  This is not to say that biopics or adaptations are not artistically excellent - some of them are.  However, we have to start creating original 21st century mythology by telling diverse stories.  This is what White Snake Projects does.  Ouroboros Trilogy engaged three diverse American composers to tell the first story based on the Buddhist philosophy of reincarnation;  REV. 23 adds a hypothetical 23rd chapter to the Book of Revelation (which ends at chapter 22) to explore tyranny, utopian fantasies and the meaning of good and evil.  PermaDeath, one of the world's first video game operas, explores mortality via this most popular of all modern day entertainments using cutting edge technology.  We hope to be able to attract a new demographic to this 400 year old art form.
3.  Entertainment:  Hand in hand with the above goals is the concept of entertainment.  By telling stories with a strong dramaturgical arc with composers that compose for the people, not for the critics, we hope to demolish the notion that opera is tortuous, boring and painful.
4.  Social Activism and Outreach:  We partner with schools, universities, community groups to create programming relevant to many pressing needs.  Our current outreach into the community of people with disabilities is an example of this.
5.  TAP:  Our Ticket Access Program where we give away one-third of the house to underserved communities is part and parcel of our mission.  Again, we partner with community groups to ensure that this new audience is inspired to attend our performances.
 
We believe a combination of these action items will achieve our ultimate goal of inclusiveness. We create a product that fulfills a real need in our community, something that is relevant, entertaining and aspirational;  we go into the community to educate and encourage attendance at our events/performances;  and we make this possible with TAP, our Ticket Access Program.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Please see the above narrative in the GOALS section.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

These are our organization's capabilities for achieving our goal of changing the face of opera and making it inclusive:
1.  We have a stable source of funding from the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation which shares our goals. 
2.  Cerise has been involved at a leadership level in the Boston arts scene for decades and is able to rely on other arts organizations support for marketing and ticket sales.
3.  Our staff and board are and continue to be social activists who are invested in bettering our society by creating beauty in our world and sharing it, especially with underserved communities.
4.  Cerise, with her diverse background (immigrant from Singapore, ethnic Chinese), has a proven track record for creating stories that resonate meaningfully.  Her first opera, Madame White Snake, based on the 1,000 year old Chinese Legend of the White Snake, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Zhou Long, its Chinese America composer.  Cerise continues to build on this achievement with many new stories.
5.  White Snake Projects has commissioned original new works through 2021 and is in the process of commissioning 2022.  Future works include "I Am A Dreamer who No Longer Dreams," an opera on immigration which focuses on DACA (with Jorge Sosa, a Mexican American composer), Cosmic Cowboy, an opera of space and colonization (with composer Elena Ruehr), MONKEY, A Kung Fu Puppet Parable based on the epic "Journey to the West" (with composer Jorge Sosa.)
6.  We continue to expand and strengthen our ties into the community with TAP and our outreach into underserved communities.  For instance, when we premiere the Dreamer opera, we intend to organize forums and panels on the immigration issues besetting our country and reach out to the immigrant population in the Greater Boston area.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We are exploring ways of surveying our audience.  Our community partners, sign up sheets etc will track how many people from underserved communities come to our events and performances.  With time, we will be able to see if any of these individuals are repeat attendees.  Growing our audience is part of this so sheer numbers will also be an indicator of progress.

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Since we've only just started TAP and our community outreach in 2017, there is much to accomplish over the next five years.  In the one year we've been doing outreach, we've managed to increase diversity - more diverse individuals have come to our performances: youth, including children, individuals from different economic backgrounds, immigrants (both documented and undocumented) etc.  We intend to build on this to expand our audiences.