Artists in Conversation:

Shellee Frazee

Profile: Beverly Arts Center Theater

Bringing Professional Theater to the South Side

The Beverly Arts Center (BAC) is in its first professional theater season. Several Chicago theater companies have been invited to perform in the state-of the-art venue on the South Side to round out the season of productions by BAC’s resident company.

Megan Stielstra

Megan Stielstra: Teacher, Storyteller, Mom

Juggle what?

I am often asked how I juggle it all. How do I juggle being a writer and a mom, a teacher and a mom, a working mom, a mom? Submitting my writing, marketing my writing, performing my writing, writing? Teaching students, teaching teachers to teach students ‘cause, really: what the hell do I know?

Nick Keenan

Function and Form

Getting a website that works for you

Although his design work has made him one of the most sought-after sound designers in the city, Nick Keenan has also become something of a guru for arts organizations looking to expand or improve their web presence.

Lindsay Olson

How to Invent Your Own Residency

In 2008, a series of events unfolded that eventually led me to the artistic opportunity of a lifetime. I'm a teacher at Columbia College Chicago and until recently, the Artist in Residence at the Oak Park Police Department. Competition for traditional residencies is fierce and wanting to find meaningful work that interested me, I thought about how to use my art to contribute to my community.

Renee LaVerné Rose

The great transition: who says I can't be a visual artist?

I have never been a woman who played it safe or followed the crowd—that just hasn't been my nature. When I decided to stop working as a lobbyist at the height of career and instead pursue my dream of becoming a visual artist, people were not lining up to wish me well.

Nejla Yatkin

Nejla Yatkin: Experience vs. Labels

On life as a Choreographer & defying labels

My work takes me to different corners of the world and connects me in a very intimate way with diverse communities. I've learned you can categorize and label all you wish, but you will end up knowing only your categories and labels, and not the things that are categorized and labeled.

Elizabeth Burke Dain

Elizabeth Burke Dain - Public Relations for the Arts

On How Arts PR Shapes an Organization's Message

PR is the strategic crafting of your brand story. It's the focused examination of your interactions, programs and community engagement that determine what and how people talk about you. Publicity is the act of getting ink. It's is getting unpaid media to pay attention.

Greg Sunmark: Voice Acting

Landing paying gigs with your voice

Voiceover work provides a variety of opportunities for actors in commercials, video games, animated movies, corporate videos, and audiobooks. Greg Sunmark discusses how he got his start in the business and provides advice for newcomers. Listen to the audio file to hear Greg’s first audition tape and hear how it compares to his current reel.

Brian Loevner: Good Shows Don’t Have to Close

Building commercial theatre in Chicago

The Chicago Commercial Collective invests in successful productions that grow out of local nonprofit theaters and develops them as commercial properties. According to Brian Loevner–a partner in the new enterprise–the nonprofits, the artists, and the investors all stand to gain from the increased commercial activity in Chicago's theater scene.

Lauren Levato

How An Artist Transitioned from Textual to Visual Language

I am always a storyteller first. Some stories are better told with language, some with images, some in non-linear, poetic formats. It's about choosing the format that best fits the narrative, even if it’s a non-narrative.

Kate Hampel

On Balancing Studio Time and Part-Time Teaching

Chicago-based, Virginia-located artist Kate Hampel uses sculptural objects to investigate unvoiced traumas implicit in our social constructs. Through her material-based practice, she seeks to unravel the underlying narratives that enthrall the public through the 24/7 media sensationalism cycle, but ultimately vanish from deeper collective thought, swept under the rug like just another dust bunny in passing. How are we all implicit in these cultural narratives of rape, murder, trauma and incest? Why do we selectively silence them in our day-to-day lives?

Career Moves: Mieke Zuiderweg - Gallery Media Director

How I Got Back to My Real Passion: From Photo-journalism to Gallery Director to Studio Art

It was only after the third month of volunteering that I realized I wanted to be this giddy more often. It took me two years to save up enough to leave my newspaper job and start down a more creative path.

Halfway There

Using the mid-year review to assess the state of your art

Well everyone it was a great and extremely hot summer, and unfortunately it’s coming to an end. Your band has played at a music fest or two, you’ve sold some art at a few craft fairs or your film premiered at a film festival, all and all it has been a very busy and very productive summer.

Lacy Katherine Campbell: On Art and Advertising

Balancing art and commerical work

Though surprisingly few actors fulfill the stereotype of waiting tables for a living, it's true that many are not able to support themselves solely from their artistic work. Lacy Campbell reflects on the balance between the art that she's passionate about and the commercial work that allows her to pursue that passion.

Julia Haw

On the Marriage of Art and Writing

I’ve had a diary since I was in the fourth grade. My first one had cats on it and had ivory pages and wide-rules lines. I felt absolutely compelled to relay every minute detail.... “After recess I had lunch.  I had a hot dog, a salad and some chocolate milk. After lunch we went back to class and did some work. Then we went to computer and music. Then I went to Diane’s house. There’s a girl named Alice there.  She’s mean.  It was another boring day.” At times it felt like my writing was a duty. I HAD to report this - whatever happened in my life. 

This Feels Like Home

Making an Artistic Home in Chicago

Article originally published on the Chicago Cultural Plan blog on August 27, 2012.

Growing up in Jefferson Park, I believed the only place art happened was in large buildings downtown. Grammar school entailed trips to the Art Institute and in high school we were bused to Shakespeare Rep &

Cultivating Arts Partnerships with the Chicago Park District


Opportunities for Artists in Chicago's Parks and How You Can Get Involved

The Chicago Park District offers arts programming in two forms: cultural events and instructional programs. Carol J. Mayer discusses the CPD's Arts Partners in Residence Program as well as other opportunities for artists in Chicago's parks and explains how you can get involved.

Rebecca Makkai: Author

Reclaiming my Chicago identity

For a chunk of my early twenties, I had Brooklyn envy. The narrative in my head went something like I this: a “real” writer goes from college to a fascinating year abroad then returns to earn her MFA at Iowa. After a year in California as a Stegner Fellow, she moves to Brooklyn.

Noah Ginex: A World of One's Own

On Chicago's puppetry scene

When CAR Theater Researcher John Carnwath went to the Nasty, Brutish & Short Puppet Cabaret at Links Hall, he was blown away by the variety of performance styles and the creativity, thought, and meticulous preparation that went into each of the ten-minute puppet pieces.

René Romero Schuler

What does it mean to be an artist in Chicago?

What does it mean to be an artist in Chicago? Those of us who have decided to stay here in the Midwest, as opposed to moving our operations to New York or Los Angeles or Berlin or wherever else is touted as being “better than Chicago” have made a conscious choice to go against the grain. Or at least, many believe this to be the case. I, however, have a slightly different opinion on this topic.

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