Beyond the Bridge

Beyond the Bridge is the story of how two community leaders turned a practical conversation into an international public art festival. Considered an act of Creative Placemaking, the Akumal Arts Festival brings together people from all sectors of the community to collaborate with artists and strengthen their web of life. Currently in the works is a page on this website to host the completed film, extended interviews, and additional interviews that did not make it into the documentary, plus Creative Placemaking resources. To keep up to date on these developments and on screenings, sign up to our email newsletter.

What’s next? High school seniors need insights into themselves and support to answer that question. I introduced a senior AP class in Baltimore, Maryland to Creative Thinking Skills to better equip them on their journey beyond the bell and into the adult world. Over the course of four sessions, students learned to identify and remove/reduce blocks to their creativity. This class can be taught in schools, after school, in community centers, libraries, and other places. Online or in person.

Author Robin Lithgow contracted with Kim Zanti to provide a developmental edit of her manuscript, Lessons from Shakespeare’s Classroom: Empowering Learning Through Drama and Rhetoric. Additional services included a pre-publication book proposal,  research, website development, query letter editing, and social media planning.  Catalyst Muse tapped into its network to engage Susan Shankin of Precocity Press in this collaborative effort, resulting in a publishing contract with Routledge, one of the world’s leading academic publishers.

Before writing this proposal, Kim’s knowledge of mariachi music was limited to incidental exposure at festivals and restaurants. Conducting quality research brought her up to speed in a short period of time on the cultural significance of this traditional art form. The National Endowment for the Arts fully funded the proposal for the Mariachi Women’s Foundation in 2022.

Los Angeles County Library Work Ready Program contracted Kim Zanti to coordinate an authoritative panel on the topic of jobs in the nonprofit sector and also to serve on the panel, along with Adrienne Luce ( and Leonardo Bravo (ClockShop), who have deep roots in the LA arts and culture arena.   

Catalyst Muse reached into its network of accomplished musicians to present a challenge to four composers — create a score for a short, impressionistic video to illustrate the influence of music on the viewer’s perception of story. The scores were combined with the  video and presented in the Music as Narrative panel discussion at the 2017 Transport Topanga Literary Festival. Composers Lisbeth Scott, Duncan Thum, Ceiri Torjussen participated as panelist and Marshall McDaniel participated as panel moderator.

Kim participated in the Cambridge Curiosity and Imagination UK Blizzard of Stories, an inspiring circle of international storytellers who gathered in a Zoom room on a cold October night to share stories about creating and inhabiting spaces of liberated learning. (Click on the live link to the left and scroll to the middle of page to view the recorded experience.)

In 2021, more than 47,000,000 people in the US changed jobs. The Los Angeles County Library offers a dynamic program – Work Ready that supports millions of people who are actively preparing for new jobs and careers. I developed and facilitated the class Creativity in Career Pivots with Community Outreach Coordinator Oleg Kagan to introduce Creative Thinking Skills (CTS) to participants to expand their options and liberate their creativity. Afterwards, one student commented, “this is a life changing talk!” This class can be taught at career centers, job placement centers, community centers, libraries, and more. Online or in person.

At the Centers for Research on Creativity (CRoC), Kim initiated and wrote the chapter proposal for Arts Evaluation and Assessment: Measuring Impact in Schools and Communities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), edited by Rekha S. Rajan and Ivonne Chand-O’Neal. The subject was the early learnings of an in-progress 10-year longitudinal study of The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, California. Kim then coordinated the input of all contributors, edited the chapter, and provided the supplementary materials to the editors (index, biographies, etc.).

Kim grew up watching The Waltons, and later, L.A. Law on television. Two Emmy award-winning actors, the late Will Geer and Richard Dysart starred on these shows, portraying the curmudgeonly Grandpa Walton and avuncular Leland McKenzie, respectively.  While working at Geer’s theatre in Topanga, Kim initiated and coordinated the creation of his archive. She was then asked to meet with Geer family friends — Richard Dysart and his wife, artist Kathryn Jacobi. They discussed conducting personal interviews with Dysart to collect material for his memoir. Sitting at the dining room table, Kim interviewed and recorded Mr. Dysart over a one year period, then archived his memorabilia, ephemera, and photographs. Sadly, Richard Allen Dysart passed away on April 15, 2015, before his memoir was written. 

In Venice, CA at the Electric Lodge Max 10 Works in Progress Showcase, Kim presented two new pieces. Church of Jazzperformed by Earnestine Phillips, is a performance poem inspired by the works of poet Kamau Daáood and vocalist Dwight Trible. I Wish to God, Mag took the first lines of Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems and arranged them alphabetically to form a new performance poem. Actors Samara Frame and Tate Ammons brought the piece to life. 

Several of Kim’s published stories with photographs are posted on her LinkedIn profile.

“None of us are perfect, but all over the place in every community and field of endeavor, there are people who are working generatively with the challenges before us; meeting them, rising to their best human capacities — at least on their good days — and creating new possibilities and realities. They’re not publicized, they’re not investigated, but that landscape is as real and important as that landscape of everything we can point out as failing and corrupt and catastrophic. “

~ Krista Tippett
journalist, author, and entrepreneur