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We are pleased to announce grants totaling $909,000 over three years to 34 Chicago arts and culture organizations. These grants are made in partnership with The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation through the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. This MacArthur Funds grant cycle, the second of the year, supports organizations with annual operating budgets between $150,000 and $500,000 that serve Chicago audiences. 

Grantees represent a broad range of artistic disciplines, presenting music, theater, dance, visual art, media arts, literary works, and more.

A complete list of grant recipients is below.

Congratulations to these MacArthur-Driehaus awardees!

Aerial Dance Chicago

$12,000 for each of 3 years

Aerial Dance Chicago was among the first, and remains one of the only, organizations committed to blending circus arts with dance techniques. As it moves into its 20th anniversary season in 2019–20, the company expands the scale of its performance programs while deepening support for its artists.

Artists' Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions Project

$10,000 for each of 2 years

Artists Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions (ACRE) is an artist-run organization devoted to producing resources for emerging artists and nurturing a diverse community of cultural producers.  Monthly exhibitions are hosted, featuring the work of its growing artistic roster.

Blair Thomas & Company

$20,000 for 1 year

BTC/Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival produces the most significant event dedicated to the art form in North America. This year, it is also offering free neighborhood performances and professional development opportunities for puppeteers.

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre

$9,000 for each of 2 years

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater is in its 20th season as a performing-arts organization committed equally to dance, live music, and visual art. The company currently presents new works addressing citizenship, identity, and immigration.

Chicago Dancemakers Forum

$20,000 for each of 3 years

Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) elevates the field of dance by being a catalyst for the artistic and professional growth of dancemakers, providing support and resources at pivotal moments in their careers. It is the only organization in Chicago dedicated to this work.

Chicago Dancers United

$9,000 for each of 2 years

Chicago Dancers United provides crucial services for dance professionals facing health issues that affect their ability to work. The annual Dance for Life performance features Chicago’s leading dance companies and showcases the talent of young and emerging dance professionals.


Chicago Dramatists

$20,000 for 1 year

Entering its 41st year, Chicago Dramatists is among few organizations dedicated to supporting playwrights and developing new plays. Multiple programs, subsidized and paid, foster this work in complementary ways and, under new leadership, there are many plans for innovative partnerships and projects.


Chicago Gay Men's Chorus

$7,000 for 1 year

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus is an inclusive, community-based performing arts organization whose performances of choral, musical theater, jazz and pop music, entertain and enlighten, inspire change, and build community.  It performs two large concerts and two cabarets each year.


Chicago Jazz Orchestra

$17,000 for each of 3 years

The Chicago Jazz Orchestra celebrates and perpetuates jazz orchestra music for all audiences through unique performances, collaboration, and education.  Alongside engagements at Chicago jazz clubs, season highlights include: tributes to Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Roy Eldridge, and Nat King Cole.


Chicago Maritime Museum

$5,000 for 1 year

Chicago Maritime Museum (CMM) fosters learning about the impact of the region’s waterways on Chicago’s history. Its collection includes artifacts, books, maps, photographs, paintings, and videos related to Chicago’s maritime history.  CMM also hosts public programs and events.


Chicago West Community Music Center

$18,000 for 1 year

Chicago West Community Music Center enhances lives and community through music. It brings music education and outstanding performances to the west side of Chicago. Its Legends concert series in 2019 features acclaimed musicians and a broad range of repertoire.


City Lit Theater Company

$12,000 for each of 2 years

City Lit Theater is a non-equity theater located in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. It is dedicated to the vitality and accessibility of the literary imagination and annually produces four shows, a series of dramatic readings, and a juried festival of stage adaptations.


Congo Square Theatre Company

$20,000 for each of 2 years

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020, Congo Square emphasizes African American cultural traditions and takes inspiration from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson’s work. It presents 2-3 main stage productions a year, and a play script development series that supports emerging writers.


Deeply Rooted Productions

$20,000 for each of 3 years

Deeply Rooted Productions re-imagines and diversifies the aesthetics of contemporary dance by bringing together modern, classical, and African American traditions. It will be presenting the world premiere of Gesem: East of the Nile; Essence, A Portrait of Four Women; and HOMELAND.


Erasing The Distance

$11,000 for 1 year

Erasing the Distance presents documentary theatre that disarms stigma, sparks dialogue, educates, and promotes healing surrounding issues of mental health. DocFest 2019, presented in October, featured 4 new public productions, 16 signature monologues, and 4 workshops.


Filament Theatre Ensemble, NFP

$8,000 for each of 2 years

Filament Theatre creates immersive and site-specific theater that inspires, empowers, and activates young people and their communities. This fall, Filament presents Luna, the story of a child who moves frequently and learns to make new friends.


Free Street Theater

$18,000 for each of 3 years

For 50 years, Free Street Theater has used theater and performance as a tool to defy Chicago’s racial and economic segregation.  This season includes anniversary highlights “50 in 50” and “Still/Here”, alongside ongoing devised community works in its Storyfront Theater space in Back of the Yards.


Full Spectrum Features

$11,000 for each of 3 years

Full Spectrum Features is committed to increasing diversity in the independent film industry by producing, exhibiting, and supporting the work of women, LGBTQ, and minority filmmakers. Its annual Chicagoland Shorts is a curated series of shorts by local writers, directors, and producers.


Global Girls

$10,000 for 1 year

Global Girls Theatre Collaborative creates original work showcasing first-person narratives that reflect the realities of African American communities. Upcoming theater productions include “Now,” “Definitely Maybe,” and “In This House.” In all, it has 30 local performances scheduled for 2019-2020.


Global Pungmul Institute

$11,000 for 1 year

GPI, recently renamed Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago, promotes traditional Korean drumming, dancing, and singing and fosters collaboration between artists of other genres and cultures. It anticipates over 70 performances and events in 2019 for a total audience of 24,000.



$12,000 for 1 year

Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theater (MPAACT) develops, nurtures, and sustains Afrikan Centered Theatre.  The coming season will include the full length productions ”Serious Adverse Effects,” “Spoken Word,” and "Pulled Punches” as well the annual Summer Jams set.


Muntu Dance Theatre

$20,000 for 1 year

Muntu preserves and perpetuates the African aesthetic and its influence on world cultures through the education and professional presentation of dance, music, and folklore. 2019 highlights include engagements at Comer Youth Center, Logan Center for the Performing Arts, DuSable Museum, and Navy Pier.


OPEN Center for the Arts

$7,000 for 1 year

OPEN Center for the Arts provides a space where all can come together to share, showcase, refine and develop their artistic talents, it supports entrepreneurship opportunities in the arts, while connecting their growth to the community. It presents monthly exhibitions at its gallery in Marshall Square, featuring local artists.


Pegasus Theatre Chicago

$17,000 for each of 3 years

Pegasus Theatre, founded in 1979, provides a voice for ideas, expression, and people often unheard.  Its boldly imaginative theater champions new and authentic voices. In the year ahead, it will introduce a new play, "The Crooner," and hold its 33rd Young Playwrights Festival.


Pleasant Home Foundation

$9,000 for 1 year

Pleasant Home manages this National Historic Landmark, by architect George W. Maher, preserving the home as a museum and providing educational, recreational, and cultural resources. Programming includes Silent Movies on the Porch and Preservation in Person, which combines home tours and lectures.


Pride Films and Plays

$17,000 for each of 3 years

Pride Films and Plays produces six fully-staged productions each year along with a rich variety of cabarets, film festivals, and other events with LGBTQ characters or themes.  Next season it will offer a mix of plays and musicals about the past and present experience of LGBTQ people.


Public Media Institute

$7,000 for 1 year

Public Media Institute (PMI)’s mission is to create, incubate, and sustain innovative cultural programming.  PMI works in three platforms:  Co-Prosperity Sphere, an exhibition and programming space; Lumpen Radio; and publications.


Sones de Mexico Ensemble

$18,000 for each of 3 years

Sones de México Ensemble presents folk music specializing in the Mexican ‘son,’ including the regional styles of huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho, and more. In 2020, it will celebrate its 25###sup/sup### anniversary embarking on a 20-date tour titled “Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico.”


South Side Community Art Center

$20,000 for 1 year

The South Side Community Art Center’s mission is to preserve, conserve, and promote the legacy and future of African American Art and Artists, while educating the community on the value of art and culture.  In 2020, its 80th year, it will celebrate with exhibitions highlighting its vast collection.


Spudnik Press Cooperative

$20,000 for each of 3 years

Spudnik Press Cooperative is dedicated to printmaking and related arts. Its programs combine affordable studio and equipment access, professional development, classes, and exhibition opportunities to support sustainable artistic careers and advance the field of fine art printmaking.


Strawdog Theatre Company

$15,000 for each of 2 years

Strawdog Theatre Company, founded in 1988, is committed to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach.  This season includes productions of Lucy Prebble’s “The Effect”, a world premiere production of “Welcome to Keane, New Hampshire” by Brian James Polak, and other works new to Chicago.


The Miracle Center

$9,000 for 1 year

The Miracle Center begins its 25th year in 2020 providing performing arts programs to young people and families with little access to quality arts education and theater. It expands through 2021 into a major addition to its Hermosa home, including a second venue, coworking space, and arts incubator.


Theo Ubique

$7,000 for 1 year

Theo Ubique presents intimate, cabaret-style theater where the audience is a part of the immersive environment. Upcoming musical productions at its new venue on Howard Street include Hello Again, Working (based on the work by Studs Turkel), and Grey Gardens.



$20,000 for each of 2 years

Threewalls fosters contemporary art practices that respond to lived experiences, encouraging connections beyond art. Programs include RaD Lab, an artist fellowship; In-Session offers curated topics for dialogue; and Breaking Bread gathers artists communities to share a meal and engage in conversation.

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