The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Awards Over $1.75 million to MacArthur-Driehaus Arts & Culture Grantees

October, 2016

We are pleased to announce grants totaling $1,753,778 to 74 local arts and culture organizations as part of the MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. MacArthur-Driehaus grants provide general operating support to Chicago arts and culture organizations with annual budgets of $500,000 or less. Grant recipients include performing arts organizations such as music, theater, and dance companies, as well as non-performing organizations including the visual arts, film/audio, museums, literary arts, and cultural centers. A complete list of grant recipients and links are below. Congratulations to the 2016 MacArthur-Driehaus Arts & Culture grantees!

16th Street Theater

$29,000 over 2 years

16th Street Theater encourages discussion and debate through timely and thought-provoking work. The company has told stories of immigrants and refugees, as well as stories of those with mental illness, physical disabilities, and dementia. In Season Nine the theme is loyalty and features five plays including Yasmina's Necklace by Rohina Malik and Killadelphia and Dogs of Rwanda by Sean Christopher Lewis.

A Red Orchid Theatre

$39,000 over 2 years

A Red Orchid Theatre produces contemporary plays and revives works from the past with modern relevance to build new audiences for live theatre. The 2016–17 season explores the theme of “Identity & Space” in The Room by Harold Pinter, The Nether by Jennifer Haley, and 3C by David Adjmi.

African American Arts Alliance

$13,000 over 2 years

The African American Arts Alliance’s mission is “to be a strong resource for the growth and development of African American artists and arts organizations within the city of Chicago.” AAAA strengthens and develops African American artists and arts organizations through capacity-building workshops, town hall meetings, networking events, and performances.



archi-treasures creates public art through a participatory process. Over 150 projects have been completed in 34 Chicago communities such as murals, outdoor installations, benches, walkways, and shared outdoor spaces. Six to eight projects are completed each year. Current projects include decorative mosaic panels at Archer Senior Residence in Bridgeport and exterior artwork for new affordable housing in Humboldt Park.

The Artistic Home Acting Ensemble

$31,000 over 2 years

The Artistic Home is a theater based in West Town dedicated to extraordinary acting, producing both neglected classics and new plays at its 45-seat theater. The 2016–17 season is focused on the work of women playwrights including Irish playwright Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats and Alice Childress’ Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story.

Asian Improv aRts Midwest

$39,000 over 2 years

The mission of Asian Improv aRts Midwest is to build a vital, self-empowered Asian American community in the Chicago area by advancing the understanding and profile of Asian and Asian American cultures through the traditional and contemporary cultural arts. The 2016 season includes the 21st annual Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival and a Taiko Legacy program at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Barrel of Monkeys         

$44,000 over 2 years

Barrel of Monkeys is an ensemble of actor/educators that works with students in Chicago, many of whom have few opportunities for creative expression, to develop their own voices and creative writing skills. BOM’s professional actors then bring these stories to life in the form of skits, songs, and movement pieces in That’s Weird, Grandma, a rotating compilation of favorite stories performed weekly for the public on Mondays evenings at the Neo-Futurarium.

Bella Voce          


Bella Voce brings to life the tradition of choral music, rooted in historical and cultural context. In the 2016–17 season, Bella Voce will perform Handel’s Messiah, Brahms Requiem, and a special series of concerts featuring the Skinner Opus 327 pipe organ at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

Bronzeville Children's Museum

$37,000 over 2 years

Bronzeville Children’s Museum features the rich culture and contributions of African Americans, Africans, and the African diaspora through interactive exhibitions, hands-on activities, and unique cultural programming.

Chicago a cappella         

$44,000 over 2 years

Chicago a cappella advances the art and appreciation of ensemble singing. The company presents an annual Chicago-area subscription series, creates studio recordings as well as live and broadcast-media musical content, and gives performances on tour and in special engagements.

Chicago Collections Consortium

$29,000 over 2 years

Chicago Collections Consortium’s web-based portal, EXPLORE, brings together information on the scores of collections spread throughout a vast library, museum, and archive community documenting the Chicago region’s history and culture. The research tool provides free and open access to a searchable database of information about Chicago-focused special collections.

Chicago Composers Orchestra  


The 68-member Chicago Composers Orchestra is dedicated to performing contemporary classical music.  In 2016, CCO will perform in the Ear Taxi Festival as well as in two other self-produced concerts.

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble

$17,000 over 2 years

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble is a multi-disciplinary arts organization that incorporates dance, theatre, music and visual art. In 2016, CDE will present the Full Circle Festival and in 2017 the company will present two new concerts, Consumed and Ethereal Abandonment.

Chicago Dramatists        


Based in the West Town neighborhood, Chicago Dramatists nurtures playwrights with the space, resources, and collaborators needed to realize new work and grow as artists. Dramatists hosts one theater company per year to support new play development and conducts numerous classes and staged readings.

Chicago Film Archives

$37,000 over 2 years

Chicago Film Archives collects, preserves and exhibits rare, unique and “at risk” films of historical, cultural and artistic significance that represent the Midwest. In the upcoming grant period, the organization plans to widen public engagement with its films through a new Programming Initiative.

Chicago Public Art Group            

$44,000 over 2 years

The mission of the Chicago Public Art Group is to unite artists and communities in partnership, to produce quality public art, and to extend and transform the tradition of collaborative, community-involved public artwork. In 2016, CPAG, in partnership with several other organizations, unveiled the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial Project in Marquette Park.

Chicago West Community Music Center

$38,000 over 2 years

Chicago West Community Music Center strives to improve the economic, intellectual and social condition of the city’s Westside communities through music. In 2016, the Legends Concert series includes five concerts featuring the work of Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nina Simone. Concerts are free and held at the Chicago Park District’s Columbia Park Refectory.

Chinese Fine Arts Society            


The Chinese Fine Arts Society promotes awareness and appreciation of Chinese culture through music, dance, and visual arts. In 2016, CFAS will present a visual telling of “The Legend of Chang E” through Chinese dance, ballet and martial arts in partnership with the Art Institute of Chicago.  

City Lit Theater Company            


City Lit produces concert readings and full stage productions of literary material, scripted plays by language-oriented playwrights, and original material developed especially for City Lit. The 2016–17 season includes adaptations of works by P.G. Wodehouse and Shirley Jackson, a world premiere comedy, and Dion Boucicault’s 1841 London Assurance.

Collaboraction Theatre Company


Based in Wicker Park’s Flat Iron Building, Collaboraction creates original theatrical experiences exploring social issues that are relevant and critical to contemporary Chicagoans. The company produces Peacebook, a performance of short sketches touring to parks on Chicago’s west and south sides. In 2017, Collaboraction will produce Gender Breakdown, a staged exploration of women’s roles in theater.

DanceWorks Chicago

$35,000 over 2 years

DanceWorks Chicago (DWC) is committed to building a foundation for early career artists through training, collaboration, mentorship, and performance. DWC blends training and public programs as well as a commitment to dance citizenship with their popular monthly Dance Chance series for aspiring choreographers.

Dead Writers Theatre Collective


Dead Writers Theater Collective is dedicated to a reverence for historic detail and accuracy in its productions of classic plays. Upcoming productions include an original cabaret anthology of Gilbert & Sullivan songs.

Elastic Arts Foundation

$26,000 over 2 years

Elastic Arts Foundation is a multipurpose performance venue in the Logan Square neighborhood dedicated to developing, hosting, producing, and promoting creative, independent, and local music, exhibitions, and multi-arts performances.

Evanston History Center

$34,000 over 2 years

The mission of the Evanston History Center is to collect, preserve and interpret the rich history of the City of Evanston through exhibits, educational programs, and research facilities. In 2016–17, EHC will present more than 12 events that include the Under the Buffalo lecture series, the Annual Holiday Open House, Open House Chicago, and several walking tours.

Experimental Sound Studio        

$38,000 over 2 years

The Experimental Sound Studio is focused on music, sound art, installation, cinema, performing arts, poetry, and new media. ESS continues its long-running sound installation series, Florasonic, at the Lincoln Park Conservatory and brings an array of local, national, and international musicians and sound artists to its intimate performance space in the Ravenswood neighborhood.

Fifth House Ensemble  

$44,000 over 2 years

Fifth House Ensemble is comprised of ten members and a composer-in-residence who embrace the collaborative spirit of chamber music to create engaging performances and interactive educational programs. In 2016, the ensemble tours an original, interactive live performance of the score to the video game Journey and makes appearances at Rush Hour Concerts and the Ear Taxi Festival.

Free Street Theater        


Free Street presents 6-8 productions of original devised work each year. Ensemble members receive conservatory-level training in theatrical arts including vocal technique, body awareness, improvisation, and ensemble-building. Programming takes place at Free Street’s Pulaski Park facility as well as various Chicago Park District locations.

Fulcrum Point New Music Project           


Fulcrum Point’s mission is to be a Chicago leader of diverse new music, presenting multi-media performances as well as commissioning and recording innovative works. The 2016–17 season includes 12 performances throughout Chicago at venues including the Harris Theater, The Promontory, and Chopin Theater.

Full Spectrum Features


Full Spectrum specializes in the production of films that reflect the perspectives of traditionally underrepresented filmmakers, particularly women, people of color, and LGBTQ artists. Chicagoland Shorts is an annual program of short films directed by underrepresented Chicago filmmakers. The Orange Story is a short film that portrays a Japanese-American man’s experience in an internment camp. 

The Gift Theatre Company

$39,000 over 2 years

The Gift Theatre is an ensemble-based theatre of actors, directors, writers, and improvisers. In the next year, they will present four world premiere plays by women playwrights, as well as TEN, their 10-minute play festival. In addition, they will continue their new play development programs and public storytelling series.

Global Girls       


Global Girls Inc. is a multi-generational performing arts organization. G Squared, an adult theatre group, will present Meet Me at The Den in 2016 at the Center for Inner City Studies at Northeastern Illinois University.

Green Star Movement 

$39,000 over 2 years

Green Star Movement inspires community members through the creation of public art. In 2016, Green Star will complete bricolage murals in the Chicago neighborhoods of Edgewater, Hyde Park, and Brighton Park.


Haymarket Opera Company

$38,000 over 2 years

Haymarket Opera Company uses period instruments and historically informed staging conventions. 2016 productions include Haydn’s L’isola Disabitata at the Athenaeum Theater. Haymarket also tours the Chicago area with oratorio concerts at venues including the Chicago Temple and Edgewater’s Church of the Atonement.

Heaven Gallery


Heaven Gallery is a multi-disciplinary arts space in Wicker Park that encourages, mentors, and presents new and emerging artists, musicians, and filmmakers. Fall programming includes a concert of improvising musicians from New Orleans, the exhibition Nothing Twice, and a collaborative event with Chicago Artists Coalition, Woman Made Gallery and Co-Prosperity Sphere.

High Concept Laboratories

$21,000 over 2 years

High Concept Laboratories supports working artists and presents innovative artistic programming. HCL offers custom support services including administrative assistance, artistic resources, and space -at no cost to artists-in-residence. In 2016, HCL will sponsor 21 artists, support 4 incubator projects, and present 38 public events.



Hothouse’s mission is to instigate, produce and otherwise facilitate participatory, multi-disciplinary events that create opportunities for high caliber artistic practices; extend their collective resources into underserved communities; and foster the international exchange of ideas and methods within the context of progressive social change praxis. In 2016, Hothouse presents several concerts featuring international artists, undertakes a new presenting partnership with the Alhambra Restaurant and hosts two cultural exchanges to Cuba.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

$39,000 over 2 years

The Hyde Park Jazz Festival is an annual two-day lineup of local talent and national and international artists celebrating jazz’s roots on the South Side of Chicago. Venues include the historic Frank Lloyd Wright Robie House, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, and the Midway Plaisance. In 2016, the 10th anniversary festival features 35 performances on 13 stages, including MacArthur Fellow saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón.

International Children's Media Center  

$25,000 over 2 years

The International Children’s Media Center is dedicated to advancing youth engagement with film as an art form. Through a range of festivals and workshops, the organization not only presents world-class films to Chicago area audiences, but also involves participation through youth juries, engaged viewing and self-expression.

International Music Foundation              


The International Music Foundation’s mission is to present high-quality music performances and music education through outstanding artists, free of charge, to people of all ages and degrees of music awareness, so they can experience how music enriches life. Programming includes the long-running Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts series, presented weekly at the Chicago Cultural Center, and the Do-It-Yourself Messiah.

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art


Intuit is dedicated to presenting the work of artists who demonstrate little influence from the mainstream art world and who instead are motivated by their unique personal visions. Its exhibition, Post Black Folk Art in America: 1930-1980-2016, curated by Faheem Majeed, will be on display until January 8, 2017. Throughout 2017, Intuit will focus on the work of Chicago writer and artist Henry Darger in commemoration of his 125###sup/sup### birthday.

Kuumba Lynx

$44,000 over 2 years

Kuumba Lynx presents, preserves, and promotes hip hop culture through spoken word poetry, dance, musical performances, and the visual arts. In 2015, the Kuumba Lynx Performance Ensemble took top honors at the Louder Than a Bomb spoken-word poetry competition. The company performs throughout Chicago and hosts the annual Hip Hop Theater Festival, a 5-day event in Clarendon Park where the company is based.

Lakeside Singers             

$18,000 over 2 years

Lakeside Singers is dedicated to bridging the worlds of classical and contemporary choral music with a twenty-four singer ensemble that draws from both disciplines. This year, the group presents two concerts—Celebrating Music from Renaissance to Rock” and their annual holiday show—in four locations as well as several guest appearances at other Chicago venues.


$18,000 over 2 years

Lampo promotes and supports artists working in experimental music and intermedia through the commissioning, producing, and presenting of performances and special projects. In 2016, it will complete its 19###sup/sup### performance season, bringing the total number of performances to over 180.

Links Hall           

$44,000 over 2 years

Links Hall serves as an artistic incubator by providing residency programs, live performance opportunities, low-cost studio and performance spaces, developmental workshops, and fiscal sponsorships. Links Hall has provided research, development, and performance opportunities for nearly 10,000 artists.

Lucky Plush Productions              

$44,000 over 2 years

The mission of Lucky Plush Productions is to connect with broad audiences through original, compelling, and high-quality dance theater work. In its 2016–17 season, Lucky Plush will present its latest evening-length work, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of Super Strip, at the Dance Center of Columbia College.

MAKE Literary Productions

$14,000 over 2 years

MAKE Literary Productions promotes contemporary literary writing through an annual print publication, MAKE: A Literary Magazine, as well as a website, staged readings and integrative arts events, and educational public forums on writing and publishing.

Mandala South Asian Performing Arts  


Mandala connects audiences with the performing arts traditions of South Asia. The current season includes several performances in support of Indian Independence Day and Diwali, the annual Ragmala with the Chicago World Music Festival, the Chicago Persian Music Ensemble, and an appearance at the 2016 State Street Thanksgiving Parade.

Media Burn Archive (The Fund for Innovative TV)            

$12,500 over 2 years

Media Burn archives, digitizes and distributes a collection of culturally, historically and artistically significant, independently-produced video, which it makes available through its website and in public events throughout Chicago. In 2016–17, the organization plans to continue preserving the Kartemquin Films video archives. 

Muntu Dance Theatre  


The mission of Muntu Dance Theatre is to preserve and perpetuate the African aesthetic and its influences on world cultures through education and the professional presentation of dance, music and folklore. In 2016–17, Muntu will continue its presenting partnership with the Logan Center for the Arts, where they will present three performances.

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture


The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture is devoted to the promotion, integration and advancement of Puerto Rican arts and culture. The Museum hosts an annual Barrio Art Fest that showcases local artists, food, music, and live performances. On view currently is a solo exhibition of work by artist Oscar Luis Martinez, who was born in Puerto Rico and resides in Chicago.



The Neo-Futurists are a consensus-based ensemble, home to the long-running Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, as well as a Prime Time Series of experimental new work. This year will include Tif Harrison’s Saturn Returns, The? Unicorn? Hour? and The Food Show, a multi-city production on farms, restaurants and family tables.

Newberry Consort          


The Newberry Consort offers an annual three-concert early-music series that is both intimate and intellectually compelling. For its 30###sup/sup### anniversary season, The Consort will present The Clown, The Count, and The Queen.

Norton Building Concert Series


Norton Building Concert Series presents chamber music performances in an intimate, acoustically superb setting. In 2016, the organization celebrated its 20###sup/sup### anniversary by commissioning a new work by composer August Read Thomas.

Oak Park Festival Theatre           

$21,000 over 2 years

Oak Park Festival Theatre performs classics outdoors. The company produces two full productions each summer in Oak Park’s Austin Gardens. 2016 productions are Shaw’s Pygmalion and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.

Pegasus Theatre Chicago

$31,000 over 2 years

Pegasus Theatre presents new and contemporary theater that crosses cultural, social, and geographical boundaries. In 2016, the company will premiere Rutherford’s Travels, a play based on the book Middle Passage by Charles Johnson. Pegasus is also home to the annual Young Playwright’s Festival and collaborative multi-disciplinary gatherings called Muse.

PianoForte Foundation


PianoForte is dedicated to promoting the art of the piano through classical and jazz performance in its South Loop space. In addition to a concert series broadcast on WFMT radio, PianoForte presents about thirty concerts each year and sponsors special events.

Pleasant Home Foundation        

$15,000 over 2 years

Pleasant Home Foundation manages a National Historic Landmark by architect George W. Maher, preserving the home as a museum and providing the public with educational and cultural resources. 

The Poetry Forum/RHINO


RHINO publishes poetry, flash fiction, and translations by new, emerging, and established writers, and promotes their work with readings, workshops, special events, website spotlights and awards.

Red Clay Dance Company  

$31,000 over 2 years

Red Clay Dance creates and performs a diverse repertoire of Afro-contemporary dance that fuses traditional West African movement with contemporary dance forms. Their 2016–17 season includes performances at Links Hall and the Logan Center for the Arts.

Rembrandt Chamber Players    

$21,000 over 2 years

Rembrandt Chamber Players’ mission is to perpetuate chamber music as an accessible, engaging, and living art form. The company brings to life Baroque classics and contemporary pieces through unique and intimate performances. The 2016–2017 season includes 9 concerts throughout Chicago featuring new collaborations and guest performers.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble      

$37,000 over 2 years

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is dedicated to recognizing and cultivating the talents of women in theatre. Rivendell’s 2016 season includes the Midwest premiere of Grizzly Mama, “a dark comedy about motherhood, murder, and moose.” In 2017, the company will feature three full productions at its home theater in Edgewater.

Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center       

$38,000 over 2 years

The mission of Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center is to preserve and promote appreciation of the culture and arts of Puerto Rico, with a special emphasis on its African heritage. SRBCC is a renovated multi-purpose arts space in the former Karlov Theater in the Hermosa neighborhood. Live performances by local and touring artists celebrate Afro-Latin cultural traditions.

ShawChicago Theater Company               


ShawChicago provides Chicago audiences with the plays of George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950) as well as those written by his contemporaries in concert-staged-reading format at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. In the 2016–17 season, ShawChicago will produce three plays under a unifying theme: Comedy for Serious People - Part III.


$14,000 over 2 years

Shorefront collects, preserves and educates the public about Black history on Chicago’s north shore. Shorefront’s archive includes films, documents, audio/video histories, books, periodicals, and over 1,500 photographic images. The collection represents over 150 years of history.

Sideshow Theatre Company      

$31,000 over 2 years

Sideshow Theatre Company is dedicated to innovative, thought-provoking work that challenges assumptions about how stories can be told onstage. Its 2016–17 season includes two world premieres developed in the Freshness Initiative, the company’s new works development process.

Spudnik Press Cooperative        


Located in the West Town neighborhood, Spudnik Press houses and makes available professional facilities and rare equipment for a wide variety of traditional print processes and fine art publishing.

Steep Theatre Company 

$32,000 over 2 years

Based in the Edgewater neighborhood, Steep Theater is committed to producing new and under-produced plays that tell stories of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. The company’s four-show 2016–17 season consists of four Chicago premieres by U.K. and U.S. playwrights.

Strawdog Theatre Company      


Strawdog is a Chicago storefront theater committed to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. Its 30-member ensemble presents a combination of new plays and reimagined classics. The upcoming season consists of two world-premiere productions, Distance and The Night Season, as well as Shakespeare’s rarely-produced Cymbaline.

Teatro Vista: Theater with a View           

$38,000 over 2 years

Teatro Vista is committed to sharing and celebrating the riches of Latino culture with Chicago audiences. The 2016–17 three-show season includes La Havana Madrid, a Joyce Award-winning documentary theater project about a 1960s Latin music nightclub in Chicago.

Thodos Dance Chicago 

$44,000 over 2 years

The mission of Thodos Dance is to inspire expression through dance performance, dance education, and dance creation. The 2016–17 25th anniversary season includes A Light in the Dark with the Chicago Children’s Theatre at the Ruth Page Center and an evening-length 25th Anniversary Performance.



Threewalls is dedicated to increasing the city’s cultural capital by cultivating contemporary art practice and discourse. This mission is accomplished through exhibitions, lectures, symposia, and publications. 2016 exhibitions include Borderland Collective’s Northern Triangle and Lise Haller Baggesen’s Hatorade Retrograde at Rational Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art           


The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art (UIMA) preserves and promotes contemporary art as a shared expression of the Ukrainian and American experience. UIMA develops, utilizes and encourages artistic talent through exhibitions, concerts, readings, lectures and films to serve the cultural needs of the community and city, and thereby strengthen cultural understanding and diversity. Upcoming exhibits include Reality Check: Directions in Contemporary Art Since Ukrainian Independence.

Visceral Dance Chicago

$26,000 over 2 years

Visceral Dance is a contemporary dance company dedicated to a bold and progressive world of movement. In 2016–17, Visceral will appear at the Harris Theater in its annual fall engagement and in the spring with Chicago Philharmonic.

Woman Made Gallery  


Woman Made Gallery supports, cultivates, and promotes the diverse contribution of women-identified artists by providing exhibition opportunities, awareness, and advocacy. 2016 exhibitions include “code/switch,” which brings together a range of artists, filmmakers, architects, designers, musicians and game developers, all pushing the boundaries of their fields using digital media.

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