Chicago Area Arts Organizations Receive 1.4MM in NEA Grants

Chicago Area Arts Organizations Receive 1.4MM in NEA Grants

Photo: “Uncovering” by Briana Robinson. Courtesy of Thodos Dance Chicago, who’s $10,000 NEA grant will support the restaging and presentation of “Nos Duraturi” by dancer and choreographer Bella Lewitzky as part of Thodos’ 25th anniversary celebration at the Auditorium Theatre this spring.


National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $30 million in grants this week as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017. Over $1.4 million is slated for 47 Chicago-area arts organizations, in grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Among some of the biggest awardees are the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Facets Multimedia, Lyric Opera, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, and Urban Gateways.

The largest grant ($100,000) was awarded to the Old Town of Folk Music for a mentorship training program for at-risk youth, in partnership with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. The program will include training in conflict resolution and community dynamics, as well as music education theory and practice, enhanced by the commitment of Fender to provide free electric guitars to students who complete instruction. The goals of the project are to foster the inventiveness that defines successful business strategies, build leadership skills among young people, offer a motivational alternative to street violence, and provide employment for a cohort of teaching artists.

The 47 grant-winning organizations are listed below in alphabetical order. The next round of NEA grants will be awarded this spring.


 3Arts, Inc – $15,000

To support artist residencies for artists with disabilities. The multi-month residencies will provide resources for artists with disabilities to create new work. Through a partnership with the University of Illinois at Chicago, artists also will have opportunities to teach, lead workshops, mentor graduate students, collaborate with faculty, present public lectures, or engage with the campus and Chicago community in other ways. While the project’s primary focus is to assist artists with disabilities, the residencies also will focus on raising awareness regarding equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

Art Institute of Chicago – $70,000

To support the research and planning for the remounting of artist Joseph Beuys’s (1921-86) large-scale public art project “7000 Oaks” in Chicago, in conjunction with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance. The project is being envisioned as a citywide educational program for youth to address urban violence. A consultant will be hired to conduct research, obtain community input, and write an implementation plan during the planning phase. A project coordinator will be also be identified to work with residents to ensure that the project addresses the needs of the community. Project personnel will identify key organizational partners, and research and strategize ways in which neighborhood youth, with SAIC students and faculty, will plant 7,000 trees in parks across the city, to replace those destroyed by the emerald ash borer beetle. Part of the planning will include how best to develop and organize tree planting events, workshops, work training, and educational activities to engage the city’s youth.

Art Institute of Chicago (On behalf of Gene Siskel Film Center) – $10,000

To support the Black Harvest Film Festival and related programming. Held in the summer, the festival presents works from emerging and established filmmakers that explore the contemporary black and African diaspora experience. Many of the films screened have limited distribution beyond the festival circuit. Through partnerships with Community Film Workshop and the Chicago Public Library, additional programming will include free family-oriented film screenings and discussions at neighborhood libraries, and master class opportunities for youth.

Asian Improv aRts Midwest – $10,000

To support Taiko Legacy, a performance of traditional Japanese performing arts coupled with the work of contemporary jazz musicians, with associated activities. Proposed guest artist GenRyu Arts will merge Japanese taiko drumming, dance, and folk songs with new music, spoken word, and visual design. Additional project elements such as workshops and post-performance discussions will explore how traditional Japanese art forms might merge with or inform modern compositions.

Association of Architecture Organizations – $25,000

To support the 2017 Design Matters Conference. The meeting will consist of presentations and group workshops, networking opportunities, community tours, and toolkit sessions. The conference also will explore the relevance and productive qualities of international design festivals in the context of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, which will be going on during the conference.

Chicago Architecture Biennial – $70,000

To support 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial. The Biennial will comprise a wide range of exhibitions, full-scale installations, and public programs led by important practitioners and thinkers in architecture and design. It is intended to reach a diverse audience-expected to exceed 500,000-from Chicago, the United States, and abroad. The hub of Biennial exhibitions and events will be the historic Chicago Cultural Center, with additional sites throughout the city, including the Graham Foundation, the Stony Island Arts Bank, and partnerships with more than 100 cultural organizations in and beyond Chicago. The biennial was first hosted in 2015 and is the only architecture-focused event of its kind in North America.

Chicago Architecture Foundation – $35,000

To support Open House Chicago (OHC) 2017. OHC is a free, citywide event that offers public access to hidden places and spaces throughout the city, along with other public programming such as performances, demonstrations, exhibitions, and youth education programs. These activities engage area residents and visitors in celebrating Chicago’s rich culture and architectural heritage as part of an ongoing community engagement strategy.

Chicago Filmmakers – $25,000

To support a film and exhibition program and the 28th Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival. Exhibition programming will include experimental works, short films, animation, and socially relevant documentaries throughout the year. Works will be presented in a variety of formats such as live performances, curated shorts programs, thematic series, and one-person shows. Additional programming will include a quarterly lecture series in which film scholars, authors, and historians curate programs and speak on a range of topics around independent film and video.

Chicago Human Rhythm Project – $20,000

To support the 3rd annual Stomping Grounds festival, the 27th annual Rhythm World festival, and a national tour. Stomping Grounds is a collaborative, citywide celebration of rhythmic expression and cultural exchange featuring dance companies in a series of free performance, education, and outreach events in diverse neighborhoods. Rhythm World is a festival of tap and percussive dance where performances take place and master teachers lead participants in a series of residencies, workshops, classes, and conferences covering all age groups and experience levels. To engage audiences beyond Chicago in professional tap and percussive dance programming, BAM!, Rhythm Project’s resident ensemble, will tour to as many as three U.S. cities.

Chicago International Film Festival – $45,000

To support the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival and other related film programming. The festival screens contemporary American and international feature-length films, short works, and documentaries. Prior to opening night, the festival will host a free international screening series, highlighting films with limited distribution in the United States. Festival programming will include free panels, workshops, and master classes open to the public, as well as a series of screenings for Chicago-area public school students accompanied by question-and-answer sessions with filmmakers. Films recently screened at the festival include “Son of Saul” (Hungary), “Three Days in September” (Republic of Macedonia), and “Where to Invade Next” (United States).

Chicago Jazz Orchestra Association – $10,000

To support a Dizzy Gillespie Centennial celebration, The Chicago Jazz Orchestra will be joined by a featured trumpet soloist such as Terence Blanchard or Arturo Sandoval for a performance at the Chicago History Museum’s Robert R. McCormick Theater. Concert program selections will draw from Gillespie’s decades-spanning repertoire for big band and orchestra. Plans for ancillary activities include an open rehearsal for as many as 100 students from Chicago public schools; multi-day master classes for jazz students at the Merit School of Music and the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory; and a special community concert featuring the students and clinician ensemble.

Chicago Sinfonietta – $10,000

To support a concert program featuring works that explore issues of gender, sexuality, and identity with related community engagement activities. The program, performed in Wentz Concert Hall and at Symphony Center, will feature guest conductor Michael Morgan, pianist Sara Davis Buechner, and the Allegrezza Singers. Works to be performed may include selections from “Candide” and “West Side Story” by Leonard Bernstein, “Elegy for Matthew” by David Conte in memory of Matthew Shepard, “Peach Street” by Jennifer Higdon, and “Variations on a Theme by Paganini” by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Engagement activities may include collaborations with community partners that will explore the challenges within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra – $75,000

To support a 125th anniversary celebration of composer Sergei Prokofiev. Plans include a film screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s “Ivan the Terrible” (1944) with Prokofiev’s musical score performed live, conducted by Music Director Riccardo Muti. The program will feature Gerard Depardieu as narrator, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, bass Mikhail Petrenko, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and Chicago Children’s Choir. Plans also include performances of Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and works by Mikhail Glinka and Antonin Dvorak led by guest conductor Charles Dutoit. Finally, a family concert of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” will take place with guest conductor Matthew Aucoin, and the Magic Circle Mime Company. To prepare young audiences for the concert experience, materials for classroom groups and families will be offered. An in-school curriculum guide for teachers will be developed to engage students in the study of Prokofiev’s life as well as musical components of “Peter and the Wolf.”

Chicago Symphony Orchestra (On behalf of Civic Orchestra of Chicago) – $50,000

To support training and stipends for pre-professional musicians of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. Culminating in full orchestra concerts, musical training will include rehearsals, performances, and community engagement activities under the direction of guest conductors, and members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Musicians will perform free concerts at Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center as well as in predominantly low-income Chicago neighborhoods. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the symphony’s creative consultant, will guide the development of the Civic Fellowship activities, which encourages and trains musicians in community engagement opportunities.

Collaboraction Theatre Company – $10,000

To support Peacebook. Collaboraction’s theater arts festival will cultivate community relations in Chicago neighborhoods most affected by violence. Performance pieces about the theme of peace will be performed in as many as three different park locations in the city. Prior to the festival, the theater company will visit each neighborhood to encourage community participation and the development of new works through workshops, a variety show, and free meals. Play submissions will be accepted from around the city and each selected work will be given full production support. The festival may feature musicians, visual artists, and peace organizations from each neighborhood.

Columbia College Chicago – $30,000

To support dance presentations and residencies at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. Activities will include contemporary dance performances, audience and community engagement programs, and teaching residencies. Artists to be presented may include Cynthia Oliver’s COCo Dance Theatre, Doug Varone and Dancers, and Bebe Miller Company. The companies will be in residence for at least one week to perform and to conduct audience and community engagement activities such as in-school and after-school classes and workshops, teen-related programs, community-based workshops, master classes for Columbia College Chicago students, lecture-demonstrations, preview performances, film screenings, gallery installations, panel discussions, open rehearsals, and pre- and post-performance conversations.

Company of Folk – $30,000

To support the Art of Work Series. Master artists from working class communities in Chicago will present their art through a series of programs designed to show how their occupations and class identity have influenced their creativity. Presentations involving musical performances, exhibits, or demonstrations will be enhanced by a folklorist explaining the relationship between the artists and their art and facilitating question-and-answer sessions. The programs will be recorded and deposited in the Illinois Labor History Society at Roosevelt University.

Court Theatre – $15,000

To support a production of “Blues for an Alabama Sky” by Pearl Cleage and a festival celebrating the Harlem Renaissance on Chicago’s South Side. Cleage depicts a lively 1920s Harlem, New York, as the creative spirit of the Harlem Renaissance gives way to the harsh realities of the Great Depression. Court Theatre’s Resident Artist Ron OJ Parson will direct the production. To capture the play’s historical context and to celebrate a cultural period in which many art forms were evolving around the country, the theater will program a festival celebration of the Harlem Renaissance in Chicago. Younger audiences will be introduced to the play through student matinees and post-show discussions will further engage students and adults.

Elmhurst Art Museum – $40,000

To support the exhibition “Mies in Chicago.” The new permanent exhibition will examine the work of architect Mies van der Rohe, who emigrated to the United States from Germany in 1937 and was a leading proponent of modern architecture.This is the first permanent exhibition to focus on van der Rohe’s body of work in the United States – 24 projects, 18 of which are in the Chicago area. The exhibition also will include scale models, photographs, archival documents, photographs, and the museum-owned McCormick House, which he designed in 1952.

Facets Multimedia Incorporated – $65,000

To support the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival and related media arts programs for children. Held in the fall, the festival is juried by both children and adults. An extensive selection of children’s films and videos from around the world will be presented. Related festival activities include school field trips to the festival, the opportunity for international directors to present their work in classrooms, and a youth cultural immersion program, which offers opportunities for participants to serve on juries at international film festivals. Scholarship awards and reduced admission is made available to students and families through community partnerships. In addition, select works screened at the festival will be available on-demand through the newly developed web streaming platform, Facet Kids.

Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus – $10,000

To support Song of DuPage II: One Home, Many Languages, a choral music education project for students in the metropolitan Chicago area. In 2006, Anima produced its first Song of DuPage project, exploring the history of DuPage County from Native American roots through the European cultures. The growing diverse populations in the area inspired an expansion of the earlier project into Song of DuPage II. Anima will partner with the Indian dance company Meher, School District 33, the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Program based at Westmont Junior High School, and other partners to actively engage children to build connections among the largest immigrant cultures in DuPage through music. Composer David Brunner will be commissioned to create a work that students from Anima’s ensembles and other student choirs will learn and perform in a culminating concert in 2018.

Goodman Theatre – $50,000

To support the premiere of “Objects in the Mirror” by Charles Smith. The play is based on a young immigrant’s journey and his search for a new family, identity, and a safe place to call home. The story follows Shedrick Yarkpai’s travels from his homeland of war-torn Liberia to a number of refugee camps in Western Africa before his final relocation to Australia. Performances will be accompanied by post-show discussions and public programming designed to highlight the play’s resonance with current events and themes of identity and self-expression. Goodman Theatre’s Resident Director Chuck Smith will direct the production.

Hyde Park Art Center – $25,000

To support the Artist Advancement Series. The series will include an exhibition program focusing on the presentation of new work by Chicago artists, as well as a residency program in which artists will receive a stipend, housing, materials, and technical assistance for the creation of new work. The series also will offer a professional development program for early-career artists. The professional development program will provide the artists with access to materials and space to develop a rigorous studio practice, guidance from professionals in the field, and a platform to exhibit their work.

Instituto Cervantes of Chicago – $20,000

To support the Chicago Flamenco Festival. Recognized international flamenco dancers, guitarists, and singers, along with emerging local flamenco artists, will offer a series of concerts, classes, and workshops presenting all aspects of the art of flamenco. Additional project activities will include a photography exhibition displaying images of flamenco artists and the screening of films relevant to the art of flamenco.

International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago – $15,000

To support the 33rd Chicago Latino Film Festival. Dedicated to developing, promoting, and increasing awareness of Latino culture, the festival showcases narrative feature films, shorts, and documentaries from Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the United States. During the festival, thousands of Chicago-area students also will attend free daytime screenings of festival films, accompanied by discussions with artists and directors.

International Music Foundation – $12,500

To support free chamber summer concert performances at the historic St. James Cathedral in downtown Chicago and the Make Music Chicago festival. Early-evening chamber concerts will be presented every Tuesday during the summer months with artists selected from a roster of musicians from the Chicago area, as well as artists from across the country. A one-day free festival in neighborhoods around the city will celebrate the summer solstice. In addition to live audiences, listening audiences will be reached by WFMT-FM public radio broadcasts.

Joffrey Ballet – $20,000

To support the creation and presentation of a new work by Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman. The work will explore the relationship between design and dance. Ekman’s work is known for its fast-paced timing, witty humor and clever transitions, as well as integrated multimedia design. Ekman will create work that connects with and surprises audiences with its humanity. In addition, the Joffrey will provide free tickets for students, preshow lectures, and opportunities to meet the artist. The new work will debut in a mixed repertory program to be performed in the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

Kuumba Lynx – $20,000

To support the Chicago Hip Hop Theater Festival. The festival will feature artists in genres such as music, poetry, visual arts, and multidisciplinary arts. In addition to performances and exhibitions, artists also will lead dialogue sessions and hands-on workshops. Kuumba Lynx will partner with Northwestern University to host a colloquium about hip-hop pedagogy and practice.

Literature for All of Us – $20,000

To support Books Alive!, a literary arts program. Students will participate in weekly book group sessions facilitated by teaching artists and will discuss literature, write poetry, publish their work in online and offline publications, and present their work in public readings. Students will read and discuss the works of well-known writers, such as Maya Angelou, Junot Diaz, and Luis Rodriguez. Visiting artists, writing retreats, and field trips to drama and spoken-word performances and art centers are planned to enrich students’ experiences in the arts. The project will serve teens and young adults attending alternative schools, General Equivalency Degree (GED) classes, and after-school programs in underserved Chicago neighborhoods.

Lookingglass Theatre Company – $20,000

To support the remount of “Moby Dick,”adapted and directed by Founding Ensemble Member David Catlin. Herman Melville’s romance of the sea follows Ishmael’s exile aboard Captain Ahab’s whaler, The Pequod. Cast aside from society, Ishmael and crew consign themselves to Ahab and bind their fates together in pursuit of the elusive white whale. The immersive and physical production will include a set composed primarily of ropes, sails, and masts to evoke both the ship’s rigging and an old whale graveyard. Performers will swing as storm-blown sailors or create the swell of the ocean itself within the stage landscape.

Lyric Opera of Chicago – $65,000

To support performances of “I Puritani” by composer Vincenzo Bellini. Set during the English Civil War of the 1600s amidst violent conflicts between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians, the story centers upon Elvira and her fiance Cavalier Arturo on the eve of their wedding. Chicago audiences have not seen a production of the bel canto masterpiece for nearly 26 years. The cast may include tenor Lawrence Brownlee, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn, and soprano Albina Shagimuratova. As many as six performances will take place at the Civic Opera House in early 2018 and additional audiences will be reached through live national radio broadcasts and webstreaming.

Marwen Foundation, Inc. – $20,000

To support the Marwen Studio, a free program which offers out-of-school visual arts courses. Practicing artists design and teach sequential, hands-on art-making courses in a range of disciplines, including visual arts, design arts, media arts, and mixed media. Project partners include HIVE Chicago, the University of Chicago, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Midnight Circus in the Parks – $15,000

To support the creation and presentation of circus arts. Midnight Circus in the Parks will create a new circus work to tour throughout Chicago neighborhoods. The circus will collaborate with the Chicago Parks District and local community partners to engage the public through performances and workshops.

Midwest Young Artists – $10,000

To support the Chamber Music Program. Middle and high school students will receive weekly instrumental music coaching and participate in rehearsals of small group ensembles. From trios to small chamber orchestras, the program offers placement for percussion, saxophone, strings, piano, woodwinds, harp, and brass players. The small size of a chamber ensemble enables the coach and students to delve deeply into expressiveness and improvisation as well as artistic and interpersonal communication. To supplement the weekly coaching and various performance opportunities, regularly scheduled master classes are offered by performer-educators from universities such as DePaul, Northwestern, Roosevelt, and University of Illinois, and by professional musicians from organizations such as Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Chicago Lyric Opera.

Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago – $25,000

To support the Chicago Greystone and Vintage Home Program. This asset-based community development project will include access to rehabilitation workshops, a certification program, building consultations, and community building efforts. The central goal of the Greystone Initiative is to provide preservation and design tools to residents to address pressing community issues, including a sense of image and neighborhood pride, housing quality, sustainability, and local self-management. Built between 1890s and the 1930s, greystones are limestone-clad buildings that are prevalent in many historically underserved neighborhoods in Chicago.

Northlight Theatre – $20,000

To support the world premiere production of “Faceless,” a new play by Selina Fillinger. The play tells the story of an 18-year-old Muslim-American woman suffering from the recent death of her mother, who is on trial for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. With a female Muslim lawyer as the face of the prosecution, the play calls into question morals, motives, and matters of faith. The production will feature talkbacks after every performance conducted in partnership with the Council on American Islamic Relations. Outreach events are also planned at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the Council on Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

Old Town School of Folk Music – $100,000

To support a mentorship training program for at-risk youth, in partnership with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). The program will include training in conflict resolution and community dynamics, as well as music education theory and practice, enhanced by the commitment of Fender to provide free electric guitars to students who complete instruction. The goals of the project are to foster the inventiveness that defines successful business strategies, build leadership skills among young people, offer a motivational alternative to street violence, and provide employment for a cohort of teaching artists.

Skyart – $25,000

To support a series of youth art instruction programs. With a focus on inner-city, low-income youth, the series of studio art classes will be offered free-of-charge including foundational courses in color and composition, the use of technology and digital media, ceramics, sculpture and metalsmithing. Activities will be offered during school hours, after-school, and on weekends at area community centers, libraries, and schools. In addition, teachers will be trained to help them better integrate the arts into their curriculum. The program will incorporate artist residencies, field-trips to cultural institutions, parent workshops, and advanced level classes geared toward portfolio development and college preparedness.

Snow City Arts Foundation – $20,000

To support Arts Education for Children and Youth in Hospitals. Professional teaching artists will provide workshops in creative writing, music, theater, media arts, and visual arts for children and youth in pediatric units in Chicago hospitals that work in conjunction with each student’s creative interests and abilities. Workshops happen either bedside or in the hospital-based Idea Labs, which house art supplies, art libraries, musical instruments, and electronic media equipment. Comprehensive progress reports are produced for each student and are sent to students’ schools for credit.

Sones de Mexico Ensemble – $30,000

To support the U.S. tour of Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico. While on tour, the ensemble will present free educational programs for the general public demonstrating Mexican folk music and dance from the various geographic regions of that country. The programs will illustrate the diversity of musical styles found in Mexico and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of the culture.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company – $60,000

To support the world premiere production of “Pass Over,” a new play by Antoinette Nwandu. Loosely inspired by Samuel Beckett’s existential masterpiece “Waiting for Godot,” the play tells the story of Moses and Kitch, two young Black men standing around talking and waiting to die, and imagining a way off of the streets. The play is a collision of pop culture, historical, and religious references, and a meditation on the cycle of violence that traps many of the urban poor. The theater will program special engagement and networking activities throughout the run of the production to reach specific constituencies.

Theater Oobleck – $20,000

To support the presentation of “The Memory Palace of Fear,” a new multidisciplinary work. An immersive, multidisciplinary haunted house experience will explore foreclosure and abandonment in the wake of the 2008 housing crisis. Employing text, sound, performance, puppets, and video, “The Memory Palace of Fear” will marry an examination of popular culture’s haunted house as an entertainment attraction with journalistic research into housing stability.

Third Coast Percussion – $10,000

To support a performance touring project that will explore how bodies of water provide connection in people’s lives. Titled Paddle to the Sea after the classic children’s book by Holling C. Holling and the Academy Award-nominated film, the project will feature a multimedia concert program inpired by the Great Lakes, with new music composed by the ensemble accompanying the screening of the film. Interspersed throughout the film, new video art will be created to existing musical works that are evocative of impressions of water and the natural world. Engagement activities will include elements of live performance and the video. The program will be presented in venues such as the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio and the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center in Indiana.

Thodos Dance Chicago – $10,000

To support the restaging and presentation of “Nos Duraturi” by dancer and choreographer Bella Lewitzky. Nos Duraturi will be restaged by former dancers of the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company and will be performed at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre as part of the company’s 25th anniversary celebration. This work will become the fourth component of the company’s American Dance Legacy Project which seeks to keep the works of renowned American dance artists alive on stage. Several master classes will be taught in the Lewitzky technique for the Chicago dance community including a class featuring the Lewitzky technique for the TDC Youth Ensemble.

University of Chicago – $20,000

To support residencies for emerging artists and related activities. The program will award a ten-month project-based residency to several non-matriculating artists and collaborative artist teams. Preference will be given to artists who examine themes relevant to Chicago’s South Side communities; encourage open, ongoing, and active community participation in collective change; and deepen understanding of race, class, gender, and sexual identities.

Urban Gateways (aka Centers for Arts Education) – $90,000

To support Arts Healing Trauma, a multidisciplinary arts residency program, in partnership with UCAN, a social service agency working with Chicago youth and families. Urban Gateways will bring its arts education expertise to UCAN’s 360 Community Program, which recognizes the impact of violence and trauma in order to create safety and healing for youth in Chicago neighborhoods. The partnership will follow several cohorts of students as they progress through UCAN’s continuum of care, incorporating access to quality arts education as a means to empower at-risk youth with the social and emotional tools to make positive changes in their own lives.

Victory Gardens Theater – $10,000

To support the world premiere of “Queen,” a new play by Madhuri Shekar. The play tells the story of two PhD candidates and close friends who are about to publish a career-defining paper. Their work will identify the cause for the disappearance of bees around the world, which ultimately leads to global food shortage due to the lack of pollination. On the eve of their presentation, they realize their research numbers are not adding up, and the two students are faced with a difficult decision that puts their careers and their friendship on the brink of devastation. The play was one of the highlights of the theater’s 2015 Ignition Festival of New Plays, and will be directed by Joanie Schultz.

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