This week’s Mid-Week Intermission comes from our friend Gustavo — get ready to jump-start your positivity, rediscover your journaling pens, and find your center. Check out what keeps him going!

Hi friends!

My name is Gustavo Padron. I’m a yoga and meditation instructor as well as a wellness coach and content creator. I relocated to the beautiful city of Austin, Texas in 2008 to attend UT Austin and pursue my dream of becoming a Doctor (more on this in one of my own blog posts later). I remember meeting Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long at a scholarship award ceremony my first year of college; their kindness and fervor for philanthropy and community was captivating and inspiring. And ever since, I’ve been a fan of the Long Center.

I can recall a few unforgettable nights at the Austin Symphony Orchestra and Trailer Food Tuesdays, especially. The Long Center is an iconic venue that will always hold a very special place in my heart. Here’s to hoping that we can gather in community and experience the magic that is always created at the Long Center very soon!

Like all of you, the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the way I live and operate. This time at home has given me the space to do more of the things I love and never made time for. Here’s how I’m spending my off-time when I’m not teaching yoga, coaching clients, or writing and creating content.

Gustavo Padron | Mid-Week Intermission | Long Center
Here’s Gustavo ☝️

5 Things Gustavo Has Rediscovered


I have always had a consistent meditation and journaling practice, but I always felt rushed and it felt more like a chore than ritual. Spending more time at home has allowed me to devote the first 30 minutes of every morning to feeling grounded so I can be more present throughout the day.

My mornings now consist of drinking 1 liter of water when I wake up, meditating for 10 minutes, brewing some coffee, and writing in my gratitude journal. I’m loving all the wonderful guided meditations from teachers at yogaglo, and I also recorded a short meditation you can access for free.


I used to run a ton when I was in my teens and early twenties — this is actually how I discovered yoga, and you can hear more about my story on this podcast with 365 Things Austin.

I’ve always found joy in being outdoors and moving my body, and I guess life got busy and I forgot how good I feel when I am one with nature. Having more free time has allowed me to rekindle my relationship with running. You don’t have to be a”runner” to run — start small and move your body in ways that feel good to you. If you need a little motivation, this playlist always gets me going.


I truly forgot how much I enjoyed building puzzles. Growing up, I was never the sporty kid or the video game kid — I was fascinated with puzzles. I remember my mom and I would spend a few hours every evening working on cute picturesque puzzles. This is a memory I will forever cherish and something I’ll continue to devote time to and, maybe one day, do this with my own children. So far, I’ve done three 5000 piece puzzles.

hand holding blue crystal | Long Center


This is so hippie of me but I am a firm believer in crystals. It’s something I was introduced to in my teens when my parents and I hiked Big Bend National Park. Anytime we found a cute little rock, crystal, or stone, they would be in awe. So I’ve been doing some research and visited Crystal Works Austin. I got an Obsidian (for grounding purposes) and an Apatite Madagascar (to enhance creativity and help with manifesting). I truly do not know if crystals work, but I believe they do, and maybe that’s what keeps me optimistic and hopeful even through these trying times.

olive oil zucchini break | Long Center


I have the biggest sweet tooth ever, so naturally baking sweet treats has been the highlight of spending time at home. I am currently obsessed with this Olive Oil Zucchini Bread that my friend Dree McCarrel turned me onto. Get the recipe via NY Times Cooking.

Thank you for reading along! We are all learning to navigate this thing called life and now more than ever, it is so important that we prioritize our self-care and rediscover what brings us joy. It is my hope that this little blog post inspires you to reconnect with your own passions and interests. Here’s to making the best of life and trusting that we will come out of this pandemic with a greater appreciation for life and learning how to make the everyday, ordinary things feel more extraordinary.

Every day we get closer to hanging out again! Sign up for our email updates, and we’ll make sure you’re getting the stories, alerts, and community updates you’ve been looking for.Gustabvo

When Austin Film Festival started planning their 2020 Fest & Writers Conference, intending this year to be bigger and better than ever, they had no idea that meant making their 27th Annual Fest completely virtual. But, as the first time AFF has ever focused exclusively on digital platforms, they’re taking this opportunity by the horns.

The Festival is still packed with 5 days of virtual panels and 8 days of virtual film screenings, October 22 through 29, and with badge options for the casual viewer and the dedicated cinephile, alike, it’s now more accessible than ever.

“We’re excited and confident that this year’s Festival — while it might have a different look — will still be all the things that our audience has grown to love about AFF,” says Kelly Lafargue, Marketing Director for the Fest.

The decision to go all virtual certainly wasn’t easy, but AFF thinks you’ll really like how they’ve brought all the usual suspects from the Festival (like panels, films, roundtables, networking opportunities, and pitch competitions) into the virtual realm, with two ways for you to enjoy this year:

VIRTUAL BADGE – This one gets you access to the full Film Festival and Writers Conference.

VIRTUAL FILM PASS – Or, skip the panels and workshops from the Conference side, and just go the film route.

How to Best the Fest

With a virtual festival, it can be hard to know where to jump in! Austin Film Fest has put together this handy guide to answer all your questions so that you can truly best this fest.

Get familiar with the platforms involved, how your Virtual Badge or Virtual Film Pass works (lookout students, there’s a Badge for you, too!), and make sure you’re prepared to watch in the way that fits you best.

Fest Schedule Highlights

With so much to absorb, dive right in to AFF’s full film schedule and start planning your week for ultimate enjoyment. Among the many premieres, watch out for:

Dave Not Coming Back, by director Jonah Malak
Golden Arm, written by Ann Marie Allison, Jenna Milly, and directed by Maureen Bharoocha

Featuring conversations with Gina Prince Bythewood (The Old GuardLove & Basketball), plus Alec Berg and Bill Hader (Barry) and so many others.

The world, North American, and US Premieres of films from Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Cameroon, Iran, France, and Poland.

And of course, some sizable Texas talent!

Dig in to that film schedule and decide what Badge is right for you. And, just for reading, Austin Film Festival would like to save you $15 off a Virtual Badge with the code LC15 — enjoy this 2020 virtual AFF experience unlike any other!

We’re so pleased to announce the community leaders joining our Board of Trustees for the 2020-21 year! We want to welcome our new Board Officers, all long-serving and vital members of our Long Center Board over the years, and share our excitement for the future.

“Our board is a phenomenal group of leaders that are committed to elevating arts and culture in Austin. This group will continue the remarkable legacy of the Long Center while helping us realize our full potential to serve our community,” says Cory Baker, our President & CEO.

Our Board of Trustees guides the Long Center with overall management, both in money matters and strategy. As the governing body of the organization, the Long Center’s sustainability and growth as a nonprofit is their ultimate goal.

“I am honored to serve as Long Center Board Chair. While we have and will continue adapting to the pandemic, I want to underscore to the community from the Long Center Board and staff that diversity, equity, and inclusion will overlay all that we do. We sit in the heart of Austin, and our priority is ensuring Austinites of every color and identity see their experiences reflected here and feel welcome,” says A.J. Bingham, Board Chair.

We’re also so thankful to Dan Graham, Liz Arreaga, Tom Sellers, and Craig Hester whose board tenure has ended this year. “The contributions of these members are forever valued and have helped ensure our stability and growth for decades to come,” says Cory.

Get know our new Board Officers — they’re excited to see you back at the Long Center soon!

What’s next for the Long Center?

Our Board Officers got together to discuss exactly this on our latest Long Story Short, a members-first sneak peek for our Long Center Members. Watch along to discover how creativity, community, and equity & inclusion will guide the future.


Long Center’s 2020-2021 Board of Trustees


AJ Bingham | Long Center

A.J. BINGHAM, The Bingham Group, L.L.C.


A.J. is the Founder and CEO of The Bingham Group, LLC, a full-service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on government affairs, public affairs, and procurement matters in the Austin metro and throughout Central Texas.

Prior to launching the firm, A.J. served as Director of Government Affairs for the Real Estate Council of Austin. He began his lobbying career at one of Texas’ top lobbying firms, rising to Legislative Director over four years and two legislative sessions. He previously worked at a leading Texas government procurement firm as a consultant for medium to Global Fortune 500 companies.

Outside of work, he teaches an MBA-level government relations course at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business. He also enjoys developing the firm’s podcast, The BG Podcast.

A.J. is a past Austin Under 40 Awards finalist (Government and Public Affairs) and was ranked in the top 10 of Capitol Inside’s 2015 Rising Star (Texas Lobby Power Rankings). His philanthropy is focused on youth, education, and arts, and includes board service on The Bingham Group Foundation, Trail of Lights Foundation, Young Men’s Business League of Austin, and Austin Sunshine Camps.

Veronica Rosas Fernandez | Long Center



An Austin native, Verónica is a seasoned finance professional with 20+ years of providing financial analysis and compliance guidance for companies like American Express, Merrill Lynch and AT&T. Verónica is currently the CFO/COO at Elephant Labs, Inc. – Claimbot, where she has been instrumental in their capital raise led by Google.

Verónica lends her skills to several local non-profit causes that are close to her heart. She is the current Board Chair and past Treasurer for Con Mi MADRE an organization that provides educational programming for Latina teenagers in Texas. At the Long Center she serves as Vice Chair, past Finance Chair and Secretary for the Board of Trustees, where she helps lead finance and development activities. Verónica is also a member of the Zilker Elementary PTA where she has led the charge for the implementation of a Spanish Immersion program.

Verónica is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and enjoys running at Lady Bird Lake. She feels blessed to raise her family here in Austin, her hometown.

Lisa Lucero | Long Center



Lisa Lucero is a Director with AT&T External and Legislative Affairs. Lucero is currently Co-Chair of the Long Center’s Business Arts Council and a member of the Board of Trustees since 2017. Lucero also serves on the Board for Dress for Success Austin and the St. Austin Catholic School Advisory Board. Lucero is a former appointee to the Governor’s Commission for Women and OneStar Foundation, promoting volunteerism and overseeing the administration of the AmeriCorps programs for the state.

Lucero was honored with the Game Changer Award in 2013 by GirlStart, a local non-profit empowering young women with an interest in science, technology and math. Lucero began her appreciation for Austin’s performing arts while attending the University of Texas, Lucero and her daughters haven’t missed a Nutcracker performance in 22 years!

Lynn Yeldell | Long Center

LYNN YELDELL, Seventh Scout


Lynn’s professional experience spans financial services where she worked in mergers & acquisitions for Louisiana’s largest bank holding company and wealth management at UBS Financial Services. After being recruited away from financial services in 2012, Lynn is enjoying the second half of her career working with and investing in startups including such as Bazaarvoice, TicketBud, and L Style G Style. Her professional sweet spot is blending the structure of her business background with the insight of investing in and running startups to help guide our client partners through thoughtful and deliberative growth.

With a finance degree from the University of Alabama, Lynn was the first woman to be elected president of the Student Government Association and was recognized as one of the 20 trailblazing women to graduate from the University in the past 125 years. With an MBA from the University of Texas, Lynn was one of the first students to focus on the entrepreneurial case study program which later became the academic foundation of the Acton MBA.

Giving back to her community is deeply important to Lynn and, in addition to her appointment as an officer on the Long Center Board of Trustees, she is an Advisory Board member of KUT/KUTX, a Human Rights Campaign Federal Club Member, and many more.


Blake Absher BB&T
Jeff Bidstrup Morgan Stanley
Amber Bradbury Google
Mike Brown PlainsCapital Bank
Shayna Brown Chez Boom Audio
Solomon Cole AB Private Credit Investors
Griffin Davis Angel Investor
Todd Davis Marsh Wortham Insurance
Aysha Doman Kastner Gravelle, LLP
Pat Feigley PIMCO
Bob Feiner Dell
Jay Fox Baylor Scott & White Health
Amanda Gibson St. David’s Healthcare
Jennifer Gravenor Northern Trust – Austin Symphony Orchestra Rep.
Alex Ladage UBS – Ballet Austin Rep.
Frank Livaudais iFLY Indoor Skydiving
Elizabeth Medina Concordia University
JoAnne Midwikis Whitley Penn
Aaron Percy Blackbaud
Josh Petrawksi General Motors
Brian Powell Stravaro, LLC – Austin Opera Rep.
Jim Taylor Retired
Robin Thigpin Wells Fargo
Andrew Weber Kelly Hart & Hallman, LLP
Mark Wheeler Oil and Gas Consultant


Joe R. Long Chair Emeritus
Jare Smith Honorary Trustee

Long Center Board Officers

After an inspiring, creative, tough, extraordinary, challenging, enriching, uplifting, and satisfying 2020 virtual ceremony — seriously, well done everyone! — the Heller Awards for Young Artists are back and ready for another year, whatever comes our way. And keep an eye out — you’ll see us sporting our new @hellerawardsatx social handles, too!

You can count on us to celebrate excellence in musical theatre, especially where Austin’s young artists are involved. Over the past 7 years, we’ve gotten used to doing this with our beloved red-carpet ceremony, and though we don’t know what next spring will bring, you bet we’ll still be highlighting the hard work of Austin’s schools, educators, and students, and bringing you messages of creativity, hope, and humor along the way.

What’s new this year?

To best meet the needs of the vast network of Greater Austin schools, we’ve revamped a few things:

After extensive listening and planning, we were intent that no school should feel like participation in the 2020-21 HAYA program wasn’t an option this year. We know each school has differing levels of ability and capacity to create musicals safely and that some may not feel that they can do much at all. That’s why we’ve chosen to eliminate the usual competition between schools and instead celebrate and support whatever musical theatre looks like this year. Instead, schools are encouraged to submit brief video content showcasing anything that combines song, dance, and storytelling. Our three favorite things!

Also new this year is an optional student competition. Allowing the creativity of our students to freely flow, this is their opportunity to work independently or as a virtual team to create content in various categories — like solos, edited group numbers, original songs, technical design, and more — and proudly represent their school programs.

To keep our community even more connected, we’ll be rolling out a schedule of workshops, master classes, guest lectures, and more throughout the year. Plus, for the first time ever, we’re excited to highlight middle school programs, too!

How will Select Ensemble work this year?

Rest assured, Select Ensemble will be featured in the awards no matter what! This exciting opportunity for passionate and dedicated high school students is as active as ever. Rehearsals may look a little bit different, but there will still be several opportunities for this +25-student, audition-only ensemble to perform in a multitude of safe settings.

Learn everything you need to know to make your Select Ensemble audition your best yet, including some tips and tricks — the deadline to submit your pre-recorded videos or have a Zoom audition is Monday, October 12! Check out your audition materials and get working. We can’t wait to get started!

And what will the ceremony look like?

We may not know exactly what the 2020-21 ceremony will look like, but we do know it’ll be just as creative as ever. It my be live… it may be virtual… but either way we know it’ll be a good time!

If you’re feeling sentimental, re-live the magic of last year’s ceremony and look out for some blasts from the past on @hellerawardsatx.

Every year the Long Center brings together over thirty schools from our community to shine the spotlight on the hard work of thousands of students and teachers involved in arts education at the Heller Awards for Young Artists. We’re pleased to say this year will be no different!

Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone


Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!