Who We Are

Without the collaboration and effort of an amazing team of talented and inspirational individuals, this project would not be possible.

Susan Blair
“…is to the manor born, deliciously deadpan…” D.L. Groover, HOUSTON PRESS

Susan Blair is a Houston-based creative artist.  She is an accomplished writer, choreographer, dancer and actor.
Susan is the creator of “Art Saves Lives”, a grassroots organization that uses the universal language of the Fine Arts to create a platform for interactive conversation with young adult survivors of homelessness and neglect.  Ms. Blair has partnered with Step Onward Foundation (formerly Grace Foundation USA) to serve these populations with accessible outreach and interactive performances since 2014.  The first phase of the project was a groundbreaking collaborative arts performance and educational outreach exchange and residency between Sister Cities Houston, TX and Nice, France. This innovative programming was initiated with the extraordinary gift, from the city of Nice, of both performance and rehearsal space at The Lino Ventura Theatre in Nice and launched in October 2014. The project was also gifted with the planning and organization of outreach to Nice area underserved populations by Eric Oberdorff’s Compagnie Humaine Dance Company and staff. The performance and outreach featured Texas Music Hall of Famer, Patrice Pike, and the choreography of Susan Blair, Laura Harrell, Penny Tschirhart, Leslie Scates and Jane Weiner. READ MORE…

Patrice Pike
Exuberantly Soulful” –Margaret Moser, Austin Chronicle

Big talent and a huge heart are just a few words to describe singer-songwriter-musician Patrice Pike. Patrice burst on to the music scene as the electric front woman for the ASL6seminal Austin jam band Sister Seven. She was honing her creativity as a vocalist and songwriter at Booker T. Washington School for performing and visual arts as well as the legendary music programs at the University of North Texas when she realized all of her mentors were graduating from programs and then trying to make a living on stage and in the studio. She left her entrepreneurial scholarship in the school bank account and started Little Sister that soon became Sister Seven.

Soon after she co-wrote and sang Sister Seven’s top 10 Billboard hit “Know What You Mean.” Richard Skanse for Rolling Stone called her “Tina Turner, Bessie Smith, Janis Joplin, and Robert Plant all rolled up into a tiny but explosive package.” The legendary John Fogerty commented about Patrice’s “great voice” also in Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazine has called her, “One of the finest up and coming contemporary Rock Singers in America.”  READ MORE…

Penelope C. (Penny) Tschirhart

Penny receivedpenny both her under-graduate and graduate degrees from Sam Houston StateUniversity in Huntsville, Texas. She danced in, and around, Houston with the likes of Sarah Irwin, Leslie Scates, Amy Ell, Sandy Marcello, Priscilla Nathan-Murphy, and Jane Weiner’s Hope Stone Dance Company until retiring from the company in 2010. Most recently, Penny performed in a collaborative performance and outreach arts exchange between sister cities Houston, Texas and Nice France at the invitation of project creator Susan Blair.
Read More…

Laura Harrell

Laura Harrell is currently the Studio Manager for Hunter Dance and Open Dance Project’s Company Manager.  She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and Master of Fine Arts degree from Sam Houston State University. She is currently an adjunct professor at San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, and Lone Star College. Laura has presented choreography at The Dance Gallery Festival (Texas/New York City), the American College Dance Festival, Fringe Festival (Houston), Brazos Contemporary Dance Festival, and in the first ever, Art Saves Lives: A Cultural Conversation performance and educational outreach program in Nice, France.

Ronda Suder

Ronda Suder is a filmmaker, writer, actress, and entrepreneur with an MS in Human Resources and Industrial Relations.  She also has an MA in Film and Media Production which she received in late 2017.  She is a certified Life Coach and Founder of Words You Need, a business providing writing services to individuals and businesses.  Ronda has more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, as well as human resource management.  Additionally she has more than 15 years of experience in writing and communications.  She inspires and empowers through relate-able stories reflecting the human condition.



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