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MacArthur Foundation awards grants to 14 Chicago arts organizations

MacArthur Foundation awards grants to 14 Chicago arts organizations
Photograph: courtesy Young Chicago Authors
Louder Than a Bomb

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation this morning named 14 Chicago arts organizations as recipients of grants ranging from $200,000 to $1 million each. The grants support theater, music, dance, visual art and other areas.

The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions has been presented annually since 2006 to organizations around the world; The year 2016 marks the first time the Chicago-based foundation has focused exclusively on its hometown. "These superbly imaginative arts organizations, competitively selected, bring diverse new audiences to opera, inject storytelling into dance, create new types of music, add humor to theater classics, and even partner with jazz musicians in Cuba," MacArthur president Julia Stasch said in a statement.

Recipients by category include:

Theater: Albany Park Theater Project ($400,000); The Hypocrites ($200,000); A Red Orchid Theatre ($200,000); TimeLine Theatre ($625,000)

Music: Chicago Jazz Philharmonic ($400,000); Chicago Opera Theater ($800,000); Chicago Sinfonietta ($625,000); Eighth Blackbird ($400,000)

Dance, performance and spoken word: Links Hall ($200,000); Lucky Plush Productions ($200,000); Young Chicago Authors ($625,000)

Film: Chicago Film Archives ($200,000)

Visual Art: Hyde Park Art Center ($625,000)

Several recipients have issued their own statements since the awards were announced early this morning. "This honor is particularly special because no other film preservation organization (or any media preservation organization for that matter) has won this award before," said Nancy Watrous, executive director of the Chicago Film Archives, whose recent work includes digitizing and cataloging the Ruth Page dance collection, including 35mm films dating back nearly 90 years.

"Receiving the MacArthur Award is both an honor and a financial grace for Lucky Plush Productions," said founder Julia Rhoads. "It validates over 15 years of dedicated risk-taking, inspires a renewed sense of responsibility and purpose in fulfilling our mission and will deepen our efforts to create a sustainable model for our work."

"Since our founding, TimeLine has sought every day to fulfill our unique mission and to continue the legacy of Chicago theater companies that started small, dreamed big and matured into prominent organizations that enrich the cultural landscape of the city," said PJ Powers, artistic director of TimeLine, which is exploring the possibility of a new permanent home as part of the Trumbull School redevelopment. "To receive this award from the MacArthur Foundation is an extraordinary acknowledgment that we are succeeding in that goal, and provides invaluable financial support as TimeLine embarks upon ambitious plans for our future."

"With the MacArthur Award, APTP has the seed funding to embark on ambitious new journeys," said David Feiner, founder and artistic director of the teen-oriented Albany Park Theater Project. "In the year ahead, we’ll announce groundbreaking collaborations between our teen ensemble and some of our favorite local, national and international artists."

The award amounts are determined relative to each organization's budget. Much like the MacArthur Fellows Program (better known as the "genius" grants), the foundation doesn't accept applications or outside nominations for these awards, instead making its choices from entities that have previously received support from MacArthur.

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