On Monday, September 26, 2016, Richard Driehaus was honored with the Distinguished Service to the Dance Field award from Audience Architects, the service organization dedicated to promoting dance in Chicago and to helping dance companies—large and small—build audiences. (See video from the gala here.)
The Driehaus Foundation has supported dance in Chicago since 1994. In fact, the Foundation’s first local dance grant was to the Chicago Dance Coalition, the dance service organization that preceded Audience Architects. By the end of the 1990s, the Driehaus Foundation was supporting a host of organizations and dance companies that made up the local dance ecosystem, many of which are still active and vibrant today. When Audience Architects emerged 10 years ago, the Foundation was the first funder to support the new organization and has done so consistently since 2006. Service and support organizations such as Audience Architects are important partners in the Foundation’s commitment to cultural stewardship as well as to artistic practice.
Since 2000, through its partnership with the MacArthur Foundation, Driehaus funding for small and emerging dance companies, those most at risk, has increased dramatically. In the last 16 years, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation have distributed over $20 million to Chicago-based arts and culture organizations. In 2016 alone, the Foundation has made 45 grants to dance organizations totaling $422,000.
The Foundation’s ongoing support of the dance community reflects Richard Driehaus’s strong commitment to general operating support and his tolerance for risk. He frequently reminds those of us who work at the Foundation that if we want to remain relevant, we have to take occasional risks.