Our Team

Photo by Shawn O'Connor

Photo by Shawn O'Connor

Barbara Reese


It is my belief that the arts are the voice of the soul.  As a Montessori teacher, I watched the exuberance and enthusiasm with which the young children in my classroom expressed their voices, but was heartbroken to see these same bright lights dim as they grew older. 40 years later, I’m still in touch with some of the kids I taught in my first years as a Montessori teacher, and I’ve grown my passion for education and working with schools to offer arts opportunities that amplify youth voices. In each place I’ve lived, including Zimbabwe, I have volunteered with schools. Locally, I serve on the board of Aspen Words and have helped bring numerous poets into the Roaring Fork Valley schools. I’m an active member of the Aspen Poets’ Society, and I continue to learn and grow my own writing every day. Now, more than ever, I feel that the voice is one of our most precious resources we have as individuals and communities. 


Renee Prince

Executive director

I have seen the power of the arts to build bridges, open hearts, and brighten futures, and I have a passion for creating dynamic arts programs with schools and communities. I began my career as an actor and theatre artist, then quickly fell in love with teaching. I was the Education Director at the Creede Repertory Theatre in Creede, CO from 2007 to 2014 and then the Education Associate with Aspen Words, the Aspen Institute’s literary organization, from 2014 - 2016. I hold a Bachelors degree in Theatre from Northwestern University and a Masters in Theatre Education from University of Northern Colorado. I love to learn, and recently returned from an intensive workshop in Italy with the mask-theatre company Familie Floez. I am inspired by Voices' mission and thrilled to be part of this brilliant team.


Kristin Carlson

Board member

I am a writer and teaching artist. My writing has appeared in The Asheville Poetry Review, Shark Reef Literary Magazine and Writer’s Digest Magazine. My play, “The Job Interview” was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Minnesota Shorts competition. “Eudora’s Box,” a 2010 new play pick, was produced at Thunder River Theatre Company in 2012, and my award-winning drama,“Unmarried in America,” has been produced statewide and nationally. I am a Bronze Tablet graduate of the University of Illinois and hold a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where I was selected as an outstanding instructor.  I was awarded a Dramatists Write Change Scholarship in 2015 and serves as a Colorado teaching artist in residence. I am currently at work on my first novel.

Vanessa Photo.jpg

Vanessa Porras

Program developer

I am an artist working primarily as a printmaker. I recently obtained my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Colorado Mesa University in Studio Art. My work has been displayed at the Art Center in Grand Junction as well as the Colorado Mesa University Gallery. I am currently working as a teaching artist for VOICES, the Aspen Art Museum and Rosybelle. I have experienced the power that art has to transform, and I am honored to contribute to VOICE’s mission. I intend on applying to a masters program in Art Therapy in the next couple of years.

Angelica Breña

Angélica Breña

Board Member

I have devoted more than half of my life to teaching literature to young people and adults because I believe we can touch the hearts and essence of human beings through fiction and story-telling. I have a MA in Humanities, and what I enjoy most is promoting opportunities for reflection about modern and contemporary fiction, so that people can understand each other a little better. This has helped me to co-ordinate and lead workshops which sensitize us to the eradication of violence towards women, as well as to encourage gender equality in the work place. I am the co-founder of El Placer de Leer, “The Pleasure of Reading”, a social project aimed at young people in the rural area of San Juan Atezcapan, in the Valley of Mexico. For three years we have been holding Saturday reading sessions with under-privileged children in this small village and producing an annual play, presented and acted by and for the community.


Peter Gilbert

Board Member

Born in New York City, I graduated from Harvard College in 1969. After graduation, I managed to avoid work for 6 months while finishing a book on the subject of my thesis. The book, John Edward Bruce: Militant Black Journalist, was published in 1970 by the Arno Press. After concluding my short literary career, and realizing I would not be able to pursue my interest of working in theatre and producing dance, I did the responsible thing and joined Gilbert Manufacturing Company, a business my father had started in 1933. For the first few years of working, I was able to amuse myself with my other interest: trying to find a way to compete in the Olympics. Lacking unusual size, speed or strength, I found the sport of field hockey. I managed to make the U.S.A. team in 1971 and competed in the Pan American games that year. In 1975 I left that sport, starting running distance, just for fun, but tried to focus on work and my family, with daughters being born in 1976 and 1978. I did manage to run the NYC Marathon in 1977. In 1991, I went back to school and received an MBA from Columbia University. After the manufacturing company ended operations in 1998, my wife and I built our house on Missouri Heights and then moved full time to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2001 where I was able to accomplish my dream of producing dance, founding Dance Initiative in 2009, and the Launchpad, with our partner, Carbondale Arts, in 2014.