Janis Hashe has been in Chattanooga for about three years, but she’s already made a name for herself as an environmental activist, writer and play producer.
“Sometimes I’ll talk to people and they say, ‘Why are you so involved?’ My response is ‘Why aren’t you?’” Ms. Hashe said. “I believe that it’s possible for one person to make a difference.”
The 54-year-old former resident of Los Angeles landed in Chattanooga in 2005. Since then she has served on the mayor’s recycling task force, become a private yoga instructor and participated in Leadership Chattanooga. She is trying to start a nonprofit organization that promotes Shakespearean art.
She does all that while supporting herself as a freelance writer. In addition to local publications, she has had articles published in Sunset Magazine, the Los Angeles Times and Salon City Magazine.
“It (being self-employed) means you don’t have weekends like others do, and you have to not mind that it’s 9 p.m. and you’re typing on a computer,” Ms. Hashe said.
A classically trained actress who holds a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in theater arts, she taught a class on understanding Shakespeare at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre in 2007. She also produced and created the Late Bloomers, a series of one act-plays and improv comedy skits, and a two-hour production of “Othello,” both staged at the Theatre Centre.
“She’s brought a lot in a short while,” said Jeffrey Brown, CTC’s producing director.
Diane Parks, the Chattanooga Chamber’s director of leadership and community development, said she appreciates Ms. Hashe’s enthusiastic participation in Leadership Chattanooga.
Her latest theater project was an original compilation of Shakespearean plays that was performed in Renaissance Park in June.
“We want people who aren’t all that familiar with Shakespeare to have an opportunity to see it for free,” she said.
Ms. Hashe is forming a board of directors and plans to apply for 501 C-3 status for a Shakespeare festival in Chattanooga later this year, she said.
In 2006 she was one of several people chosen to sit on the mayor’s recycling task force to prevent recycling from being eliminated, said local filmmaker David Porfiri.
“If you don’t have people like Janis willing to fight passionately, you’re not going to effect change,” Mr. Porfiri said.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...